Gingrich slaps back at those who call his criticism of Obama racistby Jane Musgrave | January 29th, 2012
THE VILLAGES – While campaigning this week in Florida, one of GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s favorite lines is that he’ll be the “paycheck president,” while President Obama has been the “food stamp president.”
The line, that always gets laughs, cheers or at least applause, has come under fire from pundits who believe it smacks of racism.
Speaking to a sign-waving, cheering crowd of roughly 3,000 in this sprawling retirement community south of Ocala, he went after his favorite target – the media – for creating an issue where none exists.
“The news guys just seem fascinated with this,” he said. “They say if you use the word food stamps it must have some deep, underlying racial connotation.”
A chant of “No! No!” rippled through the crowd.
“No,” the former House Speaker agreed. “It’s a fact this is the most effective food stamp president in American history. His policies of killing jobs have pushed more Americans onto food stamps than any president in American history.
His explanation is unlikely to quell criticism about his choice of phrase.
In a column this week for CNN, author Walter Mosley was among those who took Gingrich to task for knowingly using a emotionally-charged buzzword to deride the nation’s first African-American president.
He wrote: “Newt Gingrich … knows full well that calling someone a “food stamp president” brings up the working person’s fear, looming reality, and in some cases the actual experience, of unemployment – while making a shout-out to racism and affixing a stigma to poverty. All the while hiding behind the symbol of a flag.”