Former President Jimmy Carter said there’s a “subtlety of racism” to Newt Gingrich’s comments about food stamps and welfare while on the campaign trail in South Carolina.
Referring to the most recent GOP presidential debate in which Gingrich received a standing ovation for defending his comment calling President Barack Obama the “food stamp president,” Carter said the former House Speaker is choosing his words carefully to appeal to “right wing” voters in the South.
“I think [Gingrich] has that subtlety of racism that I know quite well and that Gingrich knows quite well, that appeals to some people in Georgia, particularly the right wing,” Carter said in an interview on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight” set to air Wednesday.
“Really?” Morgan asked. “And you think he’s doing it deliberately?”
“He knows well the words that you use, like welfare mamas and so forth, that have been appealing in the past in those days when we cherished segregation of the races,” Carter said. “He’s appealing for that in South Carolina.”
“That’s a pretty serious charge to level at Newt Gingrich, that he’s being racist,” Morgan said.
“I wouldn’t say he’s racist, but he knows the subtle words to use to appeal to a racist group,” Carter explained. “When you emphasize, over and over and over, welfare and food stamps and ‘why don’t the black people get jobs’ and ‘if I’m president, I’ll make sure they turn toward a work ethic, rather than an ethic of welfare and food stamps,’ that’s appealing to the wrong element in South Carolina.”
Watch the full clip below, via CNN: