Op-Ed: Newt Gingrich tells 'coddled' students to get a job, he didn't

Posted Feb 3, 2012 by Katerina Nikolas
Another case of political foot in mouth from Newt Gingrich, when he said students today are "coddled", advising them to take a part-time job. Did it not occur to him that his own student past would be raked up as an example of do as I say, not as I did?
Newt Gingrich speaking in Washington
Newt Gingrich speaking in Washington
Gage Skidmore
During the campaign trail in Florida GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich offered some advice to students of today, struggling with ever increasing college costs. However, rather than entering a serious discussion about the inflated costs of obtaining a college degree he chose instead to accuse them of being coddled.
The Washington Post reported Gingrich said "today’s students are being coddled, with luxury dorms and lavish extras, such as lobster nights in their dining halls," a statment open to refute from the majority of students saddled with student loan debt.
According to Political Fact Gingrich offered students sage advice when he said "Students take fewer classes per semester. They take more years to get through. Why? Because they have free money. I would tell students: ‘Get through as quick as you can. Borrow as little as you can. Have a part-time job.’"It would be fair to assume that such advice was offered from experience, with Gingrich being able to point to his own work ethic during college days and the speed in which he graduated. Unfortunately Gingrich's own work study ethic is not exactly a shining example for students to emulate. In 1995 he revealed all in an interview with Vanity Fair, illustrating Gingrich's do as I say, not as I did, approach to college.
The article said "Newt, who avoided Vietnam with student and marriage deferments, resisted taking a job. During his college years, Newt called up his father and stepmother to ask for financial help. His stepmother, Marcella McPherson, can still hear his exact words: "I do not want to go to work. I want all my time for my studies...Bob Gingrich told me he will not help me one bit. So I wondered, would you people help me?" Big Newt began sending him monthly checks.
Dolores Adamson, Gingrich's district administrator from 1978 to 1983, remembers, "Jackie put him all the way through school. All the way through the P.h.D...He didn't work." Adds Adamson, "Personal funds have never meant anything to him. He's worse than a six-year-old trying to keep his bank balance...Jackie did that."His advice to today's college students is sound but most definitely not gleamed from personal experience.