Gingrich received a raucous standing ovation for his back and forth with liberal moderator Juan Williams. Williams asked Gingrich if he could see how his comments about how “black Americans should demand jobs, not food stamps” were viewed, “at a minimum, as insulting to all Americans, but particularly to black Americans.”
“No,” Gingrich curtly said, using Williams as a perfect liberal foil. “I don’t see that.”
Gingrich said his daughter’s first job was doing janitorial work and “she liked earning the money” and “liked learning that if you worked, you got paid.” He said only elites “despise” giving people opportunities to earn money.
When Williams pressed Gingrich further, Gingrich said, “the fact is that more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history.”
Gingrich noted Obama’s failures in creating jobs, which has has left many communities even more desolate, and said he believed “every American of every background has been endowed by their creator with the right to pursue happiness.”
“And if that makes liberals unhappy, I’m going to continue to find ways to help poor people learn how to get a job, learn how to get a better job and learn some day to own the job,” Gingrich said.
After schooling Juan Williams, Newt turned his attention to terrorism.
When discussing terrorism, Gingrich eviscerated Ron Paul when Paul equated Osama Bin Laden to a Chinese dissident, calling that analogy “utterly irrational”
“A Chinese dissident who comes in here — a Chinese dissident who comes here seeking freedom is not the same as a terrorist who goes to Pakistan seeking asylum,” Gingrich said, noting that a 13-year-old named Andrew Jackson was sabred by a British officer during the Revolutionary War in South Carolina and wore that scare his whole life.
“Andrew Jackson had a pretty clear-cut idea about America’s enemies: Kill them,” Gingrich said to another round of raucous applause.
Newt also pointed out why “No Child Left Behind” is an utter and total failure.
And when asked about No Child Left Behind, the Bush Administration law loathed by conservatives, Gingrich emphatically said it was “clearly a failure” because “ it has led teachers to be forced into a bureaucratic system of teaching to the test. I find virtually no teacher who likes it.”
Gingrich said that “first generation immigrants who don’t speak very good English are being tested against a national standard. And a perfectly good school looks bad even though it’s doing a great job because there’s no measurement that’s reasonable.”
Gingrich said he would say to the states that it would be good for them to “shrink their Departments of Education and return the power back to the local county boards, and then let parents and teachers and students get back to learning.”
So did Newt show why he could be the candidate that liberals don’t want to win the Republican nomination?
Polls have shown Republican voters in South Carolina care most about defeating President Barack Obama, and Gingrich has always argued that he is the best suited to do so because he can take on Obama in the debates while running a campaign of inclusion that appeals to Americans of all backgrounds.
His exchange with Williams offered a potential preview of how effective Gingrich can be in taking on the liberal establishment, which will immediately bombard the eventual GOP nominee, in a way that can galvanize conservatives while being inclusive of and inspirational to all Americans.
Such moments can swing voter sentiment and turn elections around, and that is why Obama would probably fear Gingrich the most in a general election.
While he won this debate, whether he can win in South Carolina and continue his campaign will be determined Saturday.
- Video: Gingrich vs. Juan Williams on the “food-stamp president” (hotair.com)
- South Carolina Debate: Newt Gingrich Steals the Show (middlegroundpolitics.wordpress.com)
- Mitt Romney Stumbles, Newt Gingrich Shines – ABC News (blog) (abcnews.go.com)