Newt Gingrich is an "ideas factory." These ideas include the launching of orbital space lasers that could strike at North Korea, geoengineering the planet to ameliorate climate change, and telling Callista that he hasn't eaten lunch, so that he could eat two lunches.
But for during last night's debate in South Carolina, Gingrich's proposal to turn poor students into part-time janitors frankly generated the most enthusiastic response this side of Rick Perry's Civil War reenactment routine…
The issue was brought up by moderator Juan Williams, who said: "Speaker Gingrich, you recently said black Americans should demand jobs, not food stamps. You also said poor kids lack a strong work ethic and proposed having them work as janitors in their schools. Can't you see that this is viewed, at a minimum, as insulting to all Americans, but particularly to black Americans?"
"No. I don't see that," Gingrich replied.
"New York City pays their janitors an absurd amount of money because of the union," Gingrich said. "You could take one janitor and hire 30-some kids to work in the school for the price of one janitor, and those 30 kids would be a lot less likely to drop out."
Yes, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Newt Gingrich wants you to know that he also had a dream, and it involves poor kids working as janitors for 53 cents an hour (the entry-level wage for a unionized NYC custodian is $15.77 per hour). And then he told a story about doughnuts, just so you could mark that off on your Gingrich Bingo sheet:
He then told the story of a young entrepreneur who started making his own doughnuts at age 11. "His father's thrilled he just turned 16, because he can now deliver his own doughnuts," Gingrich joked…
I'm beginning to suspect that while Gingrich might not be first conservative politician to use charged language, such as "food stamp president," to send a message to his base, but he might be the first to oppose the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program on a "more for me!" principle.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Debates, Education, Food, Newt Gingrich, Primaries, Republicans, South Carolina