New York, New York (CNN) – Republican presidential frontrunner Newt Gingrich teamed up with mogul Donald Trump Monday and questioned his opponents who have refused to participate in the Trump-moderated debate in late December.
Texas Congressman Ron Paul has been Trump's most vocal critic, says his involvement in the conservative Newsmax magazine debate could hurt the Republican Party.
Following their meeting at Trump Tower, the two appeared together at a media availability. Gingrich weighed in after "The Apprentice" host dismissed Paul for having "zero chance of getting the nomination."
"I'm actually surprised that one of my friends would have said that. This is a country which elected a peanut farmer to the presidency, it elected an actor who made two movies with a chimpanzee to the presidency," said Gingrich, referring to former presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.
Gingrich is the fifth known candidate to meet with Trump. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, businessman Herman Cain, and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann have all paid Trump a visit at least once, with Bachmann meeting with Trump four times.
Gingrich said he wants Trump's endorsement but did not ask him, "not yet," because Trump said he will not make a decision until after the Dec. 27th debate in Iowa.
However, in an apparent effort to deflect criticism from his recent comments about poor children, Gingrich did ask Trump to help inner city kids in New York.
"I've asked him to take one of the poorest schools in New York and basically offer at least 10 apprenticeships to kids from that school to get them into the world of work and get them into an opportunity to earn money and get them into the habit of showing up and realizing that effort gets rewarded and that America is all about the work ethic," said Gingrich.
"I thought it was a great idea," said Trump. "We call it an apprenticeship, and we all know about 'The Apprentice,' so we're going to be doing, we're going to be picking 10 young wonderful children and we're going to make them apprenti. We're going to have a little fun with it."
In a television interview Monday morning, Trump defended controversial comments Gingrich recently made about poor children.
"Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works, so they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of 'I do this and you give me cash.' Unless it's illegal," Gingrich said recently.
"It wasn't maybe politically correct, but it happens to be the truth, and I think one of the reasons he's surging, he's like a rocket ship because of the fact that he says it like it is," said Trump, appearing Monday on NBC's "Today."
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