GOP presidential hopeful and egomaniac Newt Gingrich faced tough questions in a campaign event at predominantly black church, Jones Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church in Columbia, SC, Saturday. Many of the questions focused on his statement in December that “really poor children” have bad work habits, a remark which attracted criticism from civil rights groups, The Hill reports. His exact comments were:
“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.”
He said his comments were taken out of context, saying, “been talking a little bit about the importance of work, particularly as it relates to people who are in areas where there are — in public housing, et cetera, where there are relatively few people who go to work.” When asked to explain these comments, Newt Gingrich told those in attendance at Jones Memorial AME Zion Church:
“What I was saying was, in the poorest neighborhoods, if we can find a way to help young people earn some money, we might actually be able to keep the dropout rate down and give people an incentive to come to school,” Gingrich said.
When asked if he stood by statements that President Obama was a “food stamp president,” a line he has used often in campaign stump speeches, Gingrich responded “yes.” Gingrich has often referred to Obama as “the best food stamp president” adding that if elected he would “like to be the best paycheck president in American history.” Source: The Hill
To his credit, Newt Gingrich is the only GOP presidential candidate that has appeared at a predominantly black institution to reach out to the black community. Whether this is a photo op, I don’t know, but at least he tried. Will he sway black voters, probably not. Mitt Romney’s father, George Romney, was a man who backed the civil rights movement and made a conscious effort to reach out to the black community. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, has done little to reach out to the black community.
Back to Newt Gingrich. He is not totally off-base in his comments about the poor neighborhoods. The high drop-out rates in these inner city communities should be of great concern to the NAACP and the so-called civil rights leaders, but they would rather go after a white person who makes an observation of what ails these communities.