Was Newt Gingrich’s comment about President Obama being a “food-stamp president” racist? Or was he simply showcasing the fact that more Americans are on food stamps than ever? After all, he makes no mention of race – even though David Gregory and Chris Matthews jumped on the comments. Why?
In a speech, Gingrich said, “Do you want to be a country that creates food stamps, in which case frankly Obama is an enormous success, the most successful food stamp president in American history. Or do you want a country that creates paychecks?”
Well, that didn’t sit well with David Gregory on Meet the Press, who asked Newt, “First of all, you gave a speech in Georgia with language a lot of people think could be coded racially tinged language calling the president, first black president a food stamp president.”
Newt held his own, responding, “That's bizarre. This kind of automatic reference to racism? This is the president of the United States. The president of the United States has to be held accountable. Now, the idea that and what I said is factually true. 47 million Americans are on food stamps. One out of every six Americans is on food stamps. And to hide behind the charge of racism, I have never said anything about President Obama which is racist.”
Chris Matthews, like Gregory, also jumped right to the race card. “That language we went through back in the Seventies and Eighties, we all get tired of it. It all had that tinge to it we didn't like and we dropped it, as a country dropped it. The rightwing even dropped it. They stopped talking in this dog whistle like only the white races were going to hear you because everybody hears you now. They know what the whistle sounds like,” he said.
Glenn responded, “We don't know what the whistle sounds like! Apparently you only hear the racist whistle.”
“This guy, only these people can hear this whistle. So it says something about them. Because they hear food stamps and they immediately jump to the fact that, you're being racist.”
“Are you saying, Chris Matthews, and David Gregory, that only black people are on food stamps? Is that what you're saying?”