(CNN) – Former President Jimmy Carter on Wednesday charged Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich with crafting his campaign message in a way that speaks to prejudice.
"I wouldn't say he's racist, but he knows the subtle words to use to appeal to a racist group," the former Democratic president said in an interview set to air on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight."
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Gingrich has taken heat this election cycle from African American groups over making comments perceived by some as racially insensitive.
Carter pointed to the former House speaker's argument that children, particularly in urban areas, could learn a strong work ethic by working janitorial jobs in their schools.
And at a campaign stop in New Hampshire this month, Gingrich said he was prepared to go to the NAACP convention and talk about "why the African-American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps."
Civil rights groups, including the NAACP, responded to Gingrich's remarks, calling them "divisive" and "problematic on several fronts."
On Wednesday, Carter said Gingrich's experience as a former congressman from Georgia prepared him to use rhetoric that would be more popular in the South, including within certain constituencies in South Carolina, a state that holds its presidential primary on Saturday.
Carter said Gingrich uses terms about welfare "that have been appealing in the past, in those days when we cherished segregation of the races."
"So he's appealing for that in South Carolina, and I don't think it'll pay off in the long run," Carter added.
Gingrich's campaign did not respond to requests for comment.
The full interview will air Wednesday on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" at 9 p.m. ET.
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