Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich has found himself in hot water over a statement regarding the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and food stamps for the African American community, stirring up heated debates in the blogosphere which accused him of singling out Blacks.
And so I'm prepared if the NAACP invites me, I'll go to their convention and talk about why the African American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps, said Gingrich in Plymouth, N.H., Thursday
Twitterites responded immediately to Gingrich's comments, slamming him for calling out the African American community.
Blog titles included, Gingrich Singles Out Blacks in Food Stamp Remark, Newt: Informs African Americans They Should Not Want Food Stamps, and Gingrich to Blacks: Demand Jobs Not Food Stamps, according to an ABC News report.
Black folks aren't running around here all on food stamps. People who are on food stamps are those who are poor and that include folks of all races. We should all be demanding economic justice and a guarantee for basic needs, food, clothing and shelter, so there's no need for food stamps, a blog post said.
The campaign staff of the Republican presidential contender responded with damage control measures which included sending out emails explaining that the NAACP comments were an effort to reach out to the Black community.
NAACP president and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous responded to the comments calling it divisive and inaccurate.
It is a shame that the former speaker feels that these types of inaccurate, divisive statements are in any way helpful to our country, said Jealous, adding that the majority of people using food stamps are not African American, and most people using food stamps have a job, CBS News reported.
Jealous noted that when Gingrich was speaker of the House of Representatives, he had declined several invitations by the NAACP to speak. If he is invited again, I hope that he would come, with the intention to unite rather than divide, he said.
However, Gingrich denied any racial overtones to his comments and said that he would welcome the request to address the NAACP convention: I would welcome a request, an opportunity to go to speak to the NAACP convention because I thought there ought to be a conversation, Gingrich said on CBS' The Early Show Friday.