Commentary: Newt Gingrich Is Wrong About Obama and Black Unemployment

Commentary: Newt Gingrich Is Wrong About Obama and Black Unemployment

GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is wrong to say President Obama has failed to address the Black unemployment crisis. It is House Republicans who have failed to accept any piece of legislation aimed at creating new jobs.

Published January 19, 2012

With Rick Perry out of the GOP presidential race today, the real competition lies between two men: Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney. To any political prognosticator worth his salt, Romney is the certain victor. But that doesn’t mean Gingrich is going to go away quietly. The former Speaker of the House-turned-lobbyist is still fighting away. And Perry has just endorsed Gingrich, saying, “I believe Newt is a conservative visionary who can transform our country. We've had our differences, which campaigns will inevitably have, and Newt is not perfect, but who among us is?”

Gingrich is imperfect in many ways — his ex-wife would be the first to agree — but besides extramarital dalliances, it appears as if he has some distorted views on President Obama and the Black community as well, to judge by his rhetoric.

In an interview with CBS News on Tuesday, Gingrich, who has more than once called Obama a “food-stamp president,” said that Obama has “failed to pay attention” to Black joblessness. Asked to explain his earlier comment, that Blacks should “demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps,” Gingrich said, “The original statement was in the context of saying I would love to be invited by the NAACP to come to their convention, because the president has particularly failed to pay attention to the tremendous unemployment — we’ve had 43 percent black teenage unemployment.”

Nobody can argue with Gingrich that Black unemployment is bad ( has told you time and again that African-American joblessness is out of control). But saying that the president has totally failed to attack Black joblessness is an outright falsehood. In fact, the Obama administration has directly addressed the way its jobs plans would impact Blacks. If you’d like to argue that what the president has done for Blacks thus far is not enough, that’s fine, and perhaps accurate, but then you could also argue that an obstinate GOP bloc — which adamantly opposes every bit of jobs legislation the president puts forth — has also not done enough to help Blacks. And my guess is they certainly weren’t blocking Obama’s bills because they didn’t do enough to help out poor minorities. I also don’t believe for a second that, if Gingrich were in office, he’d have the best interests of Black unemployed people in mind. Especially when the best idea he seems to have thus far is putting poor Black kids to work as janitors cleaning up their schools.

The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.

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(Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Written by Cord Jefferson


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