As NewsBusters previously reported, MSNBC's Chris Matthews has been making the rounds accusing everyone associated with Monday's Republican presidential debate of racism.
On Tuesday's Hardball, the host finished the program by claiming former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was race-baiting by calling Barack Obama The Food Stamp President (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this. Newt Gingrich has called Barack Obama a Food Stamp President. Food Stamp President. Got it? I thought we were passed all this, didn’t you? You know, the talk about Welfare Queens and phrases like that. Well, you either get the message or you don’t. And if you don’t, there’s no point arguing with you about it. Most people do get the point, meaning most people white and black get the point.
Speaker Gingrich went at Juan Williams last night in that debate in just this vein. He knew what he was doing. Williams could see that saying that black Americans should want jobs not food stamps was insulting. Gingrich then laid into him saying that President Obama had put more Americans on food stamps than any other president. He got a lot of applause for that. Why would saying that get you a big, hearty applause? Because this whole conversation isn’t about poverty, but about race. It’s about a candidate who knows just how to make his point to appeal to a certain kind of voter. I’m talking about Gingrich here.
Again, there’s no point arguing this. You either hear the code being used or you don’t. Someone talking about food stamps, bringing up food stamps, calling a president a Food Stamp President when no one else on the planet is talking about food stamps knows precisely what he’s talking about. It’s about a cartoon, a cartoon that the people getting public assistance are lazy, don’t want to work, and are black. You talk about how low this campaign has gotten, lookee here.
And by the way, next time you’re in Washington, D.C., or any other big urban area, I’ve got an educational trip for you to take. Get up early, earlier than you usually get up, say about 6 or 6:30 in the morning, and drive through the poor parts of town and watch who’s up waiting at the bus stops heading to work. Poor people. A lot of them. A lot of them black. And they’re the hardest working people in the country.
Gingrich is a smart guy. He ought to be ashamed of himself.
No. The person who ought to be ashamed of himself is Matthews for making this pathetic connection.
I don't know about you, but I'm getting tired of anything anyone says negatively about Barack Obama being called racist.
To begin with, Williams brought this subject up not Gingrich. Does that make him racist?
As for the audience applause, it's because they believe that the economic policies of Barack Obama have failed miserably and are responsible for the tremendous increase in poverty and food stamp usage since he took office. They're pleased to see a candidate have the nerve to point it out, and probably aren't the slightest bit surprised shills like Matthews are annoyed by it.
But what has really been lost in all this discussion about The Food Stamp President - that's right, I said it! - is that a far greater number of white people are on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program than blacks.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, in 2010 35 percent of those receiving food stamps were white; 22 percent were black.
That means that if you did as Matthews asked and went to the poor part of a big urban area early in the morning, you'd be 50 percent more likely to see a white person on food stamps than a black person.
In my adult life seeing people using food stamps at grocery store checkout counters, I've almost only seen white people buying food with them.
As such, it is people like Matthews that are race-baiting when they claim discussing this issue is racist, and folks like him that ought to be ashamed of themselves.
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