National Urban League president Marc Morial blasted Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Tuesday, accusing him of “racist pandering” for saying he “doesn’t want to improve black people’s lives with other people’s money.”

“Senator Santorum is perpetuating a thoroughly false and destructive racial stereotype in a desperate attempt to score political points,” Morial said in a statement released Tuesday. “He is appealing to the lowest common denominator within the electorate and quite frankly should be ashamed of himself.”

theGrio: Santorum doesn’t recall ‘black people’ and ‘welfare’ comment, cites work with Michael Steele

Santorum made the comment on Monday while speaking to a group of supporters in Iowa. The statement, which followed Santorum criticizing President Barack Obama for allegedly wanting more Americans to collect welfare benefits and therefore be dependent on government, were caught on tape by CBS News cameras.

Santorum sought to clarify the remarks Tuesday, telling Fox News host Sean Hannity he didn’t recall the specific comment, and adding that he “condemns all forms of racism” and has worked in the past with black Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele and African-American former GOP congressman J.C. Watts.

Morial’s statement accused Santorum of “racist pandering,” and he called on the other GOP candidates to repudiate the remarks.

From the statement issued by the National Urban League:

“Social safety net programs serve families in dire circumstances from all walks of life,” Morial said. “Many of those who now find themselves in need, whatever their ethnic background, are the very people who have contributed into these programs throughout their entire working lives.”

In Iowa, about 84 percent of food stamps recipients in Iowa are white; nationally, about 70 percent of recipients are white.

“By falsely suggesting that people of color are a disproportionate drain on resources provided mainly by whites, Santorum deliberately fans the flames of racial divisiveness,” Morial said.

Morial said Santorum’s comment was particularly hypocritical when Santorum himself, while earning more than $162,000 as a U.S. Senator and living in a $643,361 home, admitted in 2005 that he could not make ends meet without financial help from his retired federal employee parents.

“Most people receiving assistance are not earning six-figure salaries and living in a lavish suburban mansion,” Morial said.

Morial noted that the National Urban League does not endorse political candidates, but will speak out against racist rhetoric from every point on the political spectrum.