Gingrich stands by anti-child labor law comments
December 1st, 2011
02:28 PM ET
2 years ago

Gingrich stands by anti-child labor law comments

Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) - Republican hopeful Newt Gingrich appeared to stand by his controversial stance against certain laws governing child labor Thursday saying his previous comments were "spun out of control" by "the left."

"Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works," the former House speaker told an audience at the headquarters for Nationwide Insurance.

He then seemed to imply that a young, poor individual's only likely source of possible income would be from breaking the law.

"They have no habit of 'I do this and you give me cash'–unless it's illegal."

Gingrich added that most successful businesspeople he knows started work "early" and made some kind of money when they were kids, whether it was by babysitting or mowing lawns.

Almost two weeks ago Gingrich called laws preventing child labor "truly stupid" and suggested students take the jobs of many janitors.

"What if you paid them part time in the afternoon to sit in the clerical office and greet people as they came in? What if you paid them to work as the assistant librarian? And I'd pay them as early as is reasonable and practical," he said Thursday.

"Then we get down to the janitor thing," Gingrich continued, in reference to his previous comments. "(I received) letters written that said janitorial work is really hard and really dangerous and this and that. OK, fine. So what if they became assistant janitors and their job was to mop the floor and clean the bathroom. And you paid them."

Gingrich's comments on the issue came in response to a Nationwide Insurance employee's question in which he asked for some clarification from the candidate.

The Republican holds two more events in the Des Moines area Thursday.


Filed under: 2012 • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. Kirk Jonas

    You can't make this stuff up.

    Of course it has nothing to do with getting rid of unions...

    December 1, 2011 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  2. JOHN

    That is such a raciest comment. But what do you expect from Newt. He is a by product of Ronald Regan

    December 1, 2011 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  3. ZB

    Thank you Newt for again reminding us you and the Republican/Tparty stand for EXPLOITATION: workers, woman, seniors, the sick, and even children. So much for family values. Ever occur to you that spending more on education, preschool and child care makes more sense? Oh I forgot, your from the south and want to go back to the days of slavery.

    December 1, 2011 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works,"
    ------------------------
    Here we go. Here's the Lizard we all know and love. Here's the Great White Hope of the GOPeeing Teatards already shooting himself in various body parts.
    There are plenty of poor people in this country and abroad whose parents, siblings friends and family members bust their hump for sub-par wages. So no Lizard your irresponsible, stupid, and insulting assumption could not be further from the mark. Allow me to submit that you might just find the people with the highest work ethic amongst those very poor that you're demeaning, whereas amongst your lot of useless politicians you would find the biggest thieves.
    Moron.

    December 1, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. Michael

    newt, he #1 hypocrite, liar and cheat

    December 1, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    See? Just keep pushing microphones and cameras in his face until he pops. He just loves to rattle of those orignal phrases of his like "radical right wing social engineering." Let him have some breathing room and feel comfortably at ease. Please, don't make him stand. Allow him to set down, take a load off, sip of water. That is when he is at his best with those snide remarks.

    December 1, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. MTATL67

    This guy is need to think before he speaks. If we go with his plan. How does that help move up in education? Instead of improving the quality of studying time. He wants them to work while students in other country have time to dedicate to their studies.....that has got to be one of the stupidest thing I have heard for a solution to education.

    December 1, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Personally, Newt, I think the kid would be much better off reading a book than pushing a mop. I guess that thought never crossed your mind. Like most every consevative, it is *always* all about the money and never about The People.

    December 1, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. Mike

    Poor kids get picked on and made fun of enough as it is. Could you image what the regular and rich kids will say when they see these kids pushing around a mop and bucket? "Hey, looks like you're already preparing for your future job!" "Yo mamma is so poor, she can't afford to pay attention, so you had to get a job to help" "When you're done sweeping the floor, don't forget to pick up your dignity!"

    December 1, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  10. rs

    I mean really- this is just a problem of interpretation by "the left"? Come on Newt, there are Child Labor Laws on the books. They are there for a reason. Never mind the GOP/TP goal of creating an indentured class out of what used to be the middle class. You guys have assailed unions, passed so-called right-to-work laws (the right to be underpaid); you are attacking unemployment compensation; allowing business to cut benefits and retirement packages for workers. The list goes on and on. Meanwhile, you lavish the richest 300,000 Americans with tax breaks and benefits they don't need, and go after every social safety net.
    Sure, misinterpretation. Republicans at wor with America.

    December 1, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  11. Jonathan

    " I'd pay them as early as is reasonable and practical"

    Which is what we're already doing.

    The economy's bad, the job market's in the toilet and Gingrich's solution is to take more jobs away to, what, teach kids a lesson about employment?

    Tell you what, Newt, let's follow the same line of thought, what say we open up the borders and just let illegal immigrants work these jobs? By and large, many of them would accept the same pay rate as these kids and you don't even have to insure them because they're in the country illegally!

    Man, I should run for the Republican nomination, I've got just the right level of business savvy and moral ineptitude to pull it off!

    December 1, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  12. Peace

    I can smell it not from far Gingrich is about to blow himself up!

    December 1, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    MTATL67 wrote

    This guy is need to think before he speaks. If we go with his plan. How does that help move up in education? Instead of improving the quality of studying time. He wants them to work while students in other country have time to dedicate to their studies.....that has got to be one of the stupidest thing I have heard for a solution to education.
    -----------–
    You have the wrong perspective. Your liberal mind hears it as an appalling "solution to education". His conservative mind views it as a brilliant budgetary solution, which is in fact, the exact context in which he brought it up.

    December 1, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  14. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Don't forget that he would also like to see an end to minimum wage, 40 hour work weeks, paid vacations, government safety regulations, and regulations on big banks and wall street.

    December 1, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  15. Jake

    what does Newt Gingrich personally know about "poor" neighborhoods? that is a gross blanket statement to make about something he knows NOTHING about!

    December 1, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  16. Steve

    Really rich children in really rich neighborhoods have no one around them who (really) works.
    Why don't we put them to work mopping floors and cleaning bathrooms?

    December 1, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  17. Obetwo

    There's nothing wrong with children working a few hours per week.

    Like working a few hours will screw up their grades.

    Give me a break.

    This blog has little to do with education and mostly about Newt Haters

    December 1, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  18. Donkey Party

    Look up the word "Elitist", I'm sure you'll find a picture of Newt. What a sick, fat, arrogant piece of garbage he is.

    December 1, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Quite so Rudy. I hope he pontificates himself into such a corner that people will forever after remember why his own Party got rid of him. And quite frankly standing or sitting his diarrhea of the mouth will provide us with allthe nails we need to seal this political vampire's coffin once and for all. His smugness will be his undoing,and if he is unlucky enough to be the last turd floating in the GOTeatard's bowl Obama will deliver the final "flush" to end his presidential aspirations.

    December 1, 2011 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  20. The Real Tom Paine

    Remember, this is someone who, as Speaker, felt that orphanges were a good thing and pointed to the movie " Boystown" as proof: an movie from the 1940s that showed an idealized version of orphanages. The man takes what could be a valid point about teaching responsibility and destroys it with some wierd spin, then blames the Left for misinterpreting it. No, Newt, we understand you all too well: its you who misinterpret reality.

    December 1, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  21. Annie, Atlanta

    And he's the Republicans' top pick right now. How low are these creeps going to go before America wakes up? Or will America wake up? How much abuse and total disgregard are we going to subject ourselves to at the hands of the GOP? Good God, enough already.

    December 1, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  22. Jason

    How would it save money if you still had to have janitors for the dangerous stuff? I am all in favor of a jobs program for youth but maybe teaching poor kids to sweep and mop is not the place to start. How bout a program designed for low income kids to become jr software developers, math tutors, lab assistants (in non-dangerous labs of course).

    December 1, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  23. Freddy

    This would be funny if it were not serious. It's pretty frightening...

    December 1, 2011 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  24. Fargazer

    In the spirit of Christmas the republican party lead by Newt reminds me of a A Christmas Carol were "Dickens wrote in the wake of British government changes to the welfare system known as the Poor Laws, changes which required among other things, welfare applicants to work on treadmills. Dickens asks, in effect, for people to recognise the plight of those whom the Industrial Revolution has displaced and driven into poverty, and the obligation of society to provide for them humanely. ANd the republican party still has not learned the lessons taught by Dickens.

    December 1, 2011 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  25. John W.

    I don't see what the problem is either. It gives the poor a head start on their careers. If they're really good at their job then it will propel them in life faster. And then, one day, maybe, they could end up in the White House, cleaning their toilets. Is that, not, the American dream?

    December 1, 2011 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
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