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A pledge signed by Republican presidential candidates Rick Santorum (l.) and Michele Bachmann has a phrase suggesting black families were stronger under slavery.

The pledge labeled “The Marriage Vow” was circulated by the Christian conservative Iowa group First Leader and signed by GOP presidential hopefuls Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum.

“Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President,” reads pledge.

After taking flak for the passage, Family Leader officials apologized and deleted it from the pledge’s preamble, but not before both republican presidential candidates had already signed it.

“We sincerely apologize for any negative feelings this has caused, and have removed the language from the vow,” the group said in a statement.

Bachmann was the first Republican presidential candidate to sign the pledge.

The Minnesota congresswoman tried to distance herself from the controversial slavery passage, claiming she only endorsed the “candidate vow” not its preamble.

The congresswoman’s spokeswoman later said, “Bachmann believes that slavery was horrible and economic enslavement is also horrible.”

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