Juan Williams, Fox News: Speaker Gingrich, the suggestion that you made was about a lack of work ethic and I’ve gotta tell you my email account and my Twitter account has been inundated by people of all races who are asking if your comment was not intended to belittle the poor and racial minorities … you saw some of this reaction during your visit to a black church in South Carolina by a woman who asked why you refer to Barack Obama as a “food stamp president.” it sounds like you’re trying to belittle people.
Newt Gingrich: first of all Juan, the fact is that more people have been put on food stamps by barack obama than by any president in americanhistory. I know that among the politically correct, you’re not supposed to use facts that are uncomfortable. Second, you’re the one who, earlier, raised a key point: the area that oughta be I-73 was called by Barack Obama a “corridor of shame” because of unemployment. Has it improved in three years? No. They haven’t built a road, they haven’t helped the people, they haven’t done anything. One last thing … so here’s my point: I believe every American, of every background, has been endowed by their creator with the right to pursue happiness, and if that makes liberals unhappy, I’m going to continue to help poor people learn how to get a job, learn how to get a better job, and learn someday to own the job.”
- Video via The Grio
The growth partly reflects an increase in need, as millions of Americans have lost income and lost jobs or remain out of work. In addition, food prices have increased, eligibility has been expanded, and the 2009 economic stimulus law temporarily increased benefits.
Before Mr. Obama took office, food stamp participation was rising, in part because of federal policies that encouraged low-income people to seek aid for which they were eligible.
Nearly half of food stamp recipients are under age 18. Nearly 30 percent of food stamp households have earned income. Only 15 percent of such households have income above the poverty level ($18,500 for a family of three in 2011).
– Robert Pear, New York Times
“Do you see how these remarks might offend people?” Williams asked.
Newt replied, “No, I don’t see that.” He then defended his position, citing anecdotal accounts of young people who prospered as janitors, or as doughnut deliverers. Gingrich went on to say that he got the idea from a Joe Klein article about New York City schools, which is true.
“Only the elites despise earning money,” Gingrich said. But as Benjy Sarlin points out, if you hired 30 kids for one janitor contract, those kids wouldn’t be able to form an emotional attachment to earning money, because they wouldn’t earn very much.
- Jason Linkins, The Huffington Post
- Video via Buzzfeed
The audience at the South Carolina GOP debate interrupted a question to Mitt Romney that referenced his family’s ties to Mexico with an audible boo from what sounded like several people as the question was asked.
Romney’s father was born in Mexico, where his parents were part of a Mormon enclave that had moved temporarily from the United States.
- Benjy Sarlin, Talking Points Memo
In New Hampshire last Sunday, Romney mentioned that his father, George, was born in Mexico and came to the United States at age five. On Wednesday he took to the airwaves in Florida with a new Spanish-language ad entitled “Nosotros,” meaning “us.” The Republican National Committee got in on the act, too, announcing a beefed-up outreach effort to Hispanic voters.
But it may be too little, too late. Even before his DREAM Act comments, Romney faced an uphill battle with Latinos. A poll conducted by Latino Decisions for Univision in November found that among registered Hispanic voters in the 21 most Hispanic-heavy states, Obama held a whopping 67 percent to 24 percent lead over Romney.
While Romney could make up some ground among Latinos by selecting someone like Cuban-American Florida Sen. Marco Rubio or former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as his eventual running mate, the GOP may have missed a golden opportunity to swing the 2012 election by earning the backing of Latino voters.
- Matthew Jaffe, ABC News
From the TV cutaways they seemed clean, well-dressed, and drug-free. And yet their reactions would scare off any sane, sensible person. In previous debates the right-wing GOP audiences booed a gay soldier. Someone shouted “Let him die!” in response to a question about an uninsured person.
But in South Carolina they took the cake. The crowd booed the mere mention of the name of the country of Mexico. Just the name. I might understand it if they booed, say, North Korea or Iran or Texas A&M—centers of evil. But Mexico? Good luck with that Latino vote in November, guys.
Then, when Ron Paul said the Golden Rule should guide our foreign policy, the crowd booed. They booed the Golden Rule. Apparently nobody told them that Jesus wrote the Golden Rule. On second thought, they’d have booed Jesus.
- Paul Begala, The Daily Beast