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Bill O'Reilly: Nelson Mandela was a 'great man' and a Communist

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While speaking with former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Penn., Thursday, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly reminded viewers that while Nelson Mandela fought apartheid in South Africa, he was also a Communist, the Washington Times reported.

“He was a communist, all right? But he was a great man. What he did for his people was stunning. … He was a great man, but he was a communist," he said.

Mediaite said O'Reilly was trying to show how the GOP can win over more of the public in 2016.

"Got it," Mediaite said. "Great man, great communist."

Santorum didn't go down that road, perhaps recognizing that Mandela is highly regarded even with his checkered past.

Instead, the former senator and GOP presidential candidate said Mandela fought against “a great injustice,” adding that the U.S. faces similar fights against injustice through the “ever-increasing size of government that is taking over and controlling people’s lives, and Obamacare is at the front and center of that."

Not only did Mandela support Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, he was on the U.S. terrorist watch list until 2008, when President George W. Bush signed a bill removing him from it.

"He had no place on our government's terror watch list, and I'm pleased to see this bill finally become law," then-Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said at the time.

The Huffington Post explained:

South Africa’s apartheid regime designated Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC) as a terrorist organization for its battle against the nation’s legalized system of racial segregation that lasted from 1948 to 1994.

While serving as a member of Congress, Dick Cheney joined 179 other members of the House who voted for a resolution that recognized the ANC and called on the government of South Africa to release Mandela from prison.

In 2000, Cheney said he cast the correct vote.

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