Newt Gingrich decided to veer off the campaign trail for a while and spent time at the Jones Memorial AME Church in South Carolina where he defended his idea of giving poor kids jobs as janitors, as well as defending why he calls Obama the "food stamp president." Politico reports:
Whether it’s La Raza, or it is LULAC or it is the NAACP or it’s the Urban League,” Gingrich said at the church here, “I think that conservatives and Republicans have to get in the habit of thinking about the whole country.”
African Americans made up just 2 percent of the Republican primary electorate here in 2008 and several members of the church said they thought their fellow congregants leaned heavily toward Obama.
Still, Gingrich offered about 50 minutes of back-and-forth, explaining why he thinks poor children should have part-time jobs and why his brand of bipartisanship is different than the one that Obama offered while campaigning in 2008.
Jobs might help children in poor neighborhoods develop strong work ethics, earn some money and potentially “slow down the dropout rate and give young people an identity within the community and a desire to go back to school,” Gingrich said, defending a proposal he’s come under fire for on the trail.
“Good response,” the African-American man who asked the question said as Gingrich finished up his answer.
But not everyone in the crowd was so amenable. Minutes later, an African-American woman asked him if his views of minorities changed after he traveled the country with the Rev. Al Sharpton a few years ago to encourage cities to develop charter schools or if he is still “a racist and a bigot.”
Newt didn't seem bothered by the frontal assault–and called the day at the church "an honest and very open dialogue." Gingrich currently holds a distant second place in South Carolina according to FoxNews polling. The below video of the debate last night encases Newt's views of jobs and black America. Juan Williams asked Newt if he could understand his views of giving black kids jobs as janitors and calling for African Americans to call louder for jobs than for food stamps was offensive to black Americans. Newt, a native Georgian, brushed off the question and replied that he didn't think his views are offensive at all, and cited examples of those who worked such jobs and how happy they were to be employed: