FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
As the Republican race for the White House heats up, here's something the GOP can't be too comfortable with:
Most of the 10 poorest states in the country are Republican.
Mississippi is the poorest... followed by Arkansas, Tennessee, West Virginia, Louisiana, Montana, South Carolina, Kentucky, Alabama and North Carolina.
And the list doesn't even include Texas, where Rick Perry is governor and one in five people lives in poverty.
In a piece on CNN.com, Roland Martin writes Republicans expect to win all 10 of these states in 2012, although President Obama won North Carolina by a slim margin in 2008 and West Virginia is usually considered a Democratic state.
Martin points out that despite the red-leanings in these states, you don't hear so much from Republicans about poverty.
In fact the word "poor" has barely come up at the GOP debates thus far. The only exceptions were:
– Rick Santorum discussing welfare reform
– Ron Paul suggesting the U.S. get rid of the minimum wage
– and Mitt Romney using the phrase "energy-poor."
Overall, Republicans believe their economic agenda is the best way to get people back to work - and many in the GOP are quick to blame President Obama for the rise in the poverty rate.
But how about addressing the root causes of poverty more directly - especially when millions of people in these so-called red states are suffering.
The Census Bureau reports a record $46.2 million Americans are living below the poverty line - which translates to about $22,000 a year for a family of four.
Minorities are especially hard hit - with 27% of blacks living in poverty and 26% of Hispanics compared to about 10% of whites.