The Republican presidential candidates have consistently been antagonistic towards black people in the hopes of garnering the white racist vote. The white racist vote is not as important as it was before, but it was always remain an integral part of a Republican primary.
During today's debate, Rick Perry said Obama doesn't reflect the foundering fathers. Although explicitly the issue was socialism, this was a subtle jab at Obama's race. Rick Santorum touts his welfare-to-work program that disproportionately hurt poor black people. Newt Gingrich argues that black children should work because their families don't and scolds black people for their perceived reliance on entitlement programs. Ron Paul claims he's done more for civil rights than anyone in either party, but doesn't even believe in "black rights."
The Republicans are not even trying to court black people's vote. And they are attempting to appeal to white racists with this rhetoric. It's a subtle attempt to capitalize on the backlash against the election of Obama. The candidates deny the legacy of history as if we are all born in a vacuum. Hundreds of years of systematic bigotry have led to the current socio-economic inequalities. Those inequalities have not magically disappeared with the election of the first black president. Yet, the Republicans blame poor black folks for their plight. They show no empathy. It's quite disgusting.