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article imageGingrich tells blacks to demand paychecks not food stamps

By JohnThomas Didymus     Jan 6, 2012 in Politics
Washington - In an interview on CBS's Friday "The Early Show," GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, accused the national media of misrepresenting his comment about the NAACP, blacks and food stamps. Gingrich said, "You guys have distorted what I said."
Gingrich, according to Associated Press, had said that if the NAACP invites him to its annual convention, he was ready to attend and urge that black people should demand paychecks and not food stamps. Gingrich made the comment while addressing a town hall meeting at a senior center in Plymouth, N.H. Fox News reports that Gingrich said:
"I’m prepared if the NAACP invites me, I’ll go to their convention and talk about why the African American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps.”
Gingrich also said:
“The fact is if I become your nominee we will make the key test very simple – food stamps versus paychecks. Obama is the best food stamp president in American history. More people are on food stamps today because of Obama’s policies than ever in history. I would like to be the best paycheck president in American history. There’s no neighborhood I know of in America where if you went around and asked people, 'Would you rather your children had food stamps or paychecks?' You would end up with a majority saying they’d rather have a paycheck.”
Gingrich was widely criticized for his comment and accused of singling out blacks for comments on food stamps. Many accused him of racism.
Gingrich, speaking on CBS's "The Earl Show," argued that what he really meant to say was:
"Every American of every background has been endowed by their creator with a right to pursue happiness. Every American of every background should have an opportunity to get a job, not be dependent on food stamps. Every American of every background should be able to go to a school that actually works where they get educated."
Gingrich's campaign, according to ABC News , also responded to criticisms by sending out emails that said Gingrich's statement was an attempt to reach out to the African-American community. The statement pointed out that Gingrich in his book Real Change, had criticized President George Bush for failing to "address NAACP." Gingrich said that Bush's failure to reach out to NAACP sent signal to the African-American community that "Republicans did not see them as worthy of engagement in dialogue.”
AP reports Gingrich also said that he would promote a new social security program aimed at helping young people, especially African-American males.
Earlier on Sunday, GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum, said he did not want to "make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money." The president of the National Urban League Marc Morial, criticized Santorum's statement, saying that 70 percent of people on food stamps are white. He accused Santorum of pandering to racist elements in the GOP who prefer to believe blacks rely on food stamps because they are unwilling to work.
According to AP, food stamp participants have risen under Obama's administration from 28.2 million at a cost of $37.6 million in 2008 to 44.7 million participants at a cost of $75.3 billion.
ABC News notes, however, that the increase in food stamp participants and costs was due mostly to the downturn in the economy and not because the Obama administration has been deliberately promoting participation.
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