Gingrich defends food stamp comment
January 6th, 2012
05:12 PM ET
2 years ago

Gingrich defends food stamp comment

Newport, New Hampshire (CNN) – GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is standing by a recent statement interpreted as racially insensitive prompting reaction from a major civil rights organization.

"And so I'm prepared, if the NAACP invites me, I'll go to their convention to talk about why the African-American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps," Gingrich said Thursday.

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The NAACP, responding to reports about the line in the speech, said the former speaker's comment is "problematic on several fronts."

"It is a shame that the former Speaker feels that these types of inaccurate, divisive statements are in any way helpful to our country," said President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous in a written statement.

The quote in question came from a speech in Plymouth, New Hampshire when Gingrich was laying out his "food stamps versus paychecks" argument, a frequent topic on the stump when he talks about President Barack Obama's liberal policies and the need for change.

On the campaign trail Gingrich often argues that more people are on food stamps under the Obama administration and that he would pursue policies that get people back to work. He has previously labeled Obama a "food stamp president."

Jealous charged Gingrich of feeding a stereotype. "The majority of people using food stamps are not African-American, and most people using food stamps have a job," he said in the statement.

The former speaker believes his comment Thursday has been taken out of context.

"I think you would have to be nuts to read those two paragraphs and conclude anything except that I was saying that every young American deserves the right to pursue happiness. Every young American deserves a chance to have a job. Every neighborhood in America deserves a chance to have pay checks instead of food stamps," he said.

Gingrich added that this is another example of being labeled a racist for challenging government entitlements such as welfare, which he said he will continue pursuing "even if it makes liberals uncomfortable."

"And for the life of me I can't understand why having a conservative Republican who cares about young people having jobs should be seen as such a terrible idea or should be seen as somehow a racist characterization," he told reporters.

In addition to talking his food-stamp-vs.-paycheck argument on the stump, Gingrich often talks about speaking to the NAACP, as well as other groups, in an effort to reach out to all Americans.

Based on previous experience with Gingrich, the NAACP is not so convinced.

"We invited Speaker Gingrich to attend our annual convention several times when he was Speaker of the House, but he declined to join us," Jealous continued. "If he is invited again, I hope that he would come, with the intention to unite rather than divide."

The Gingrich campaign was unable to confirm or deny Jealous' assertion because they didn't have on hand the former speaker's schedule from the '90s.

- Follow Shawna Shepherd on Twitter: @ShepherdCNN

Also see:

Huntsman hits Romney ahead of N.H. primary


Boston Globe backs Huntsman


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Santorum tangles with Gingrich, same-sex marriage supporters

McCain courting former South Carolina backers for Romney


Filed under: 2012 • New Hampshire • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (118 Responses)
  1. bawana

    eye of newt,,,hair of dog,,,,,bucket of puke,,,and toe of frog,,,,,,as the witches lament on the awful thing they created,,,,a newt,,,,,can not seem to find a mix that will get rid of it,,,,

    January 6, 2012 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  2. Lekwas

    What can I say. I don't wonna make him cry again. We already have one crying GOP speaker of the house, we do not need another crying ex-GOP speaker of the house crying in the White House. So be nice guys.

    January 6, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  3. wallybob

    classy dude, that newt ging-grinch.

    January 6, 2012 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  4. ThinkAgain

    "I am sure that there are quite a few blacks who could do your job, whatever it is you do."

    It doesn't take much to do Newt's "job" – all you have to do is open your mouth and spew hateful nonsense.

    January 6, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  5. Kenneth Close

    I guess, I am a little taken aback about his statement by Newt, does not mention blacks on UNI, if so show me where..and I don't support the guy as a candidate.

    January 6, 2012 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  6. george of the jungle

    open mouth insert foot. won't he make a dandy president. especially when on the world stage. let's get real people.

    January 6, 2012 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  7. Ken_In_ATL

    I wish bigots would stop with this lie. Blacks make up 12.6% of the American population. Any fool with a high school diploma should understand that out of the MILLIONS of people on government assistance, the majority of them are not black. It irritates me to no end when I hear this racist dog whistle.

    January 6, 2012 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  8. Tom L.

    Sniffit:

    Typical intellectually dishonest comment. If they make up 36% of recipients, yet they make up only 11%, then can't you see that this has nothing to do with Newt and the color of his skin or white people at all. This is 3 times greater than their population. That is a problem. Would you prefer to rely on the government or yourself? How about a candid discussion about how to change that terrible statistic rather than throwing out vitriolic comments and calling Newt a racist?

    January 6, 2012 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  9. Tom L.

    Sniffit:

    Typical intellectually dishonest comment. If they make up 36% of recipients, yet they make up only 11%, then can't you see that this has nothing to do with Newt and the color of his skin or white people at all. This is 3 times greater than their population. That is a problem. Would you prefer to rely on the government or yourself? How about a candid discussion about how to change that terrible statistic rather than throwing out vitriolic comments and calling Newt a racist?

    January 6, 2012 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  10. Independent linda

    Well I know who will get my vote. About time someone report the truth about welfare receiptant, so everyone will know the secret. LMFAO

    January 6, 2012 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  11. soul man

    poor newt his hate is eating him alive it must be hard walking around with that kind of hate all day every day and you wonder why blk people by and large don;t vote republikkklan it;s not hard to figure out just listing to newt,the two rick,s and crazy wild woman backman and there is your answer.

    January 6, 2012 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  12. Not Suprised at Anything

    Newt go to rural America and find out who is on food stamps.

    January 6, 2012 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  13. Mike, Albany

    Here's the problem with the numbers people are throwing out for the numbers of food stamp and welfare recipients: You do not understand the math. These percentages need to be calculated with respect to each individual community not with respect to the total number of recipients.

    Let's take the following extreme example: Suppose we have 100 people receiving food stamps, 99 of whom are white and 1 black. If 33 whites and 1 black receive food stamps, then you would say that 33% of all food stamp recipients are white and 1% are black. However, this is just an unfortunate consequence of the majority of the entire "population" being white. Relative to the individual communities, however, you would say that 33.3333% of all WHITES receive food stamps and 100% of blacks receive food stamps. See the difference? Although whites are no longer the majority in America, they still outnumber each other ethnic group individually.

    Anyway, I'm not trying to put forth any kind of bias or anything like that, I'm only trying to point out the danger of just throwing out statistics without understanding how they were calculated. Newt's comment is still ridiculous and uncalled for!

    January 6, 2012 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  14. Marquise

    I thought Newt was a born again Christian, a Catholic? What with the race baiting? What happen to Christian charity? The poor are being ridiculed for accepting foodstamps during a recession. The Republicans call the unemployed, deadbeats. slackers and freeloaders. These Americans were working and paying taxes till they lost their jobs.

    January 6, 2012 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  15. SC

    We have a lot of white people using food stamps here. Some of us don't have running water or electricity or an education. We don't like politicans that look down on us. We don't know why our governor is always away when she said she would make things better for us.

    January 6, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  16. DagnyTag

    Pay attention Liberal twits and moron posters on this board. There is this pesky little FACT that you need to consider involving *Percentage of the population* when making statements about which race collects the most. The use of food stamps in America has continued to climb in recent years, and hit an all-time high of nearly 45 million in 2011.

    According to U.S. Census Bureau, about 28 percent of households that receive food stamps are African American, while 59 percent are white. According to the same report, about 78 percent of American households are white, while about 12 percent are black. The overall population is 72.4 percent white and 12.6 percent black. You do the math mind-numbingly dense liberal fools. Blacks are a very small percentage of the population (12%), yet look at their numbers. Don’t hurt yourself working out the #’s Libs.

    January 6, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  17. The LONE OKIE

    His comments seem to imply that most Blacks recieve food stamps, when in fact they don't. If anything done by the government helps the poor, aged, underclass, or minorities it comes under attack by the evil, hating, rich, elite because they can't profit from it or control it.

    January 6, 2012 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  18. DagnyTag

    Pay attention Liberal twits and posters on this board. There is this pesky little FACT that you need to consider involving *Percentage of the population* when making statements about which race collects the most. The use of food stamps in America has continued to climb in recent years, and hit an all-time high of nearly 45 million in 2011.

    According to U.S. Census Bureau, about 28 percent of households that receive food stamps are African American, while 59 percent are white. According to the same report, about 78 percent of American households are white, while about 12 percent are black. The overall population is 72.4 percent white and 12.6 percent black. You do the math mind-numbingly dense liberal tools. Blacks are a very small percentage of the population (12%), yet look at their numbers.

    January 6, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  19. Just a thought

    except for the turd blossom "gt", it appears that all of you have clearly identified Newtie's stupidity in assuming;

    1) Black people are the only ones receiving federal assistance. Again, More Whites receive assistance than Black americans..... Newt = fail

    2) I know for a fact Black Americans DO want jobs and not just "lazy"... In fact, I know more Black people than dear as$hat Newt and no, they aren't as he portrays, by any stretch of imagination.

    Only the racist and bigots find Newt's words applicable...as stupidity in this country can only be a result of poor upbringing and an underfunded public education system. The GOP/Tea Potty idiots are always trying to appeal to lowest common denominator .... those without eye teeth, and would consider dating their sister as an option. See Newtie...I can do it too – U idiot

    January 6, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  20. Jilli

    Yeah, yeah, we heard the dog-whistle Newt. Why not just quit while you're ahead – you're trying to defend the indefensible.

    I really thought the gop had hit a new low with the reemergence of gingrich, but in rick santorum they've managed to find a candidate who is even more offensive than gingrich.

    January 6, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  21. The Prince of Common Cents

    And this is coming from a man that ran up a $100,000 tab at Tiffany's....(talk about out-of-touch).

    January 6, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  22. DagnyTag

    Pay attention Liberal and posters on this board. There is this pesky little FACT that you need to consider involving *Percentage of the population* when making statements about which race collects the most. The use of food stamps in America has continued to climb in recent years, and hit an all-time high of nearly 45 million in 2011.

    According to U.S. Census Bureau, about 28 percent of households that receive food stamps are African American, while 59 percent are white. According to the same report, about 78 percent of American households are white, while about 12 percent are black. The overall population is 72.4 percent white and 12.6 percent black. You do the math mind-numbingly dense liberal tools. Blacks are a very small percentage of the population (12%), yet look at their numbers.

    January 6, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  23. Benjamin D. Crews

    Newt had his say. Now I will have mine. 34% of welfare recipients are White, 28% are Black. These are nationwide stats. After Santorium made his negative abortion stament referencing blacks, Newt felt he had to show his bigotry was just as good. Unfortunately neither one of these clowns made factual sense. Maybe they need to talk to Ron Paul. He has a stack of newsletters packed with racial hate.

    January 6, 2012 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  24. Molly

    iI don't know why people are taking Gingrich seriously. He is just out to promote his books and videos. If he was president he would lower his standard of living. No more $500,000 lines of credit at Tiffany. No more luxury cruises. No more millions of dollars of payments for being an "unregistered" lobbyist.

    January 6, 2012 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  25. DagnyTag

    There is this pesky little FACT that you must consider involving *Percentage of the population* when making statements about which race collects the most.
    According to U.S. Census Bureau, about 28 percent of households that receive food stamps are African American, while 59 percent are white. According to the same report, about 78 percent of American households are white, while about 12 percent are black. The overall population is 72.4 percent white and 12.6 percent black. You do the math Liberals. African Americans are a very small percentage of the population (12%), yet look at their numbers.

    January 6, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
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