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Allen West Defends Obama's 'Food Stamp President' Label: 'It's a Fact

"There is no race code."

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has received some harsh criticism from Democrats and liberal commentators who allege that when the former Speaker calls Barack Obama the "food stamp President," he does so to reinvigorate racial prejudices against America's first black President.

Speaking on Fox News Monday morning, Florida Rep. Allen West -- the sole Republican member in the Congressional Black Caucus -- said that Gingrich's claim has nothing to do with racism but rather the reality of increasing poverty in America since Barack Obama took office.

"There is no race code. It's a fact, since President Obama has been in office, you've seen a 4 to 1 increase in food stamp recipients in the United State of America," West said. "We have a President that is making more Americans victims, rather than making them victors.

"We also have a 16 percent increase in Americans on the poverty role. 6.4 Million more Americans are on poverty since President Obama took office."

On CNN's State of the Union Sunday, Gingrich defended his comments and scolded those who allege racism as a means to deflect criticism of President Obama.

"I think it's unfortunate that liberal leaders, whatever their ethnic background, can't have an honest, open debate about policies that fail," the former Speaker said Sunday. "The fact is, far more whites than blacks are on food stamps. The fact is I've been talking about food stamps both with regard to Speaker Pelosi and with regard to President Obama since August of 2010."

Rep. West, the first African-American Republican elected to Congress from Florida since 1873, agrees that allegations against Gingrich in regards to the "food stamp" label are a means draw attention away from the nation's economic duress.

“What is really appalling and disgusting and despicable is that you have people such as, unfortunately, my colleague, Mr. Clyburn, and the charlatan Al Sharpton who all of a sudden now want to create a schism and try to hide away from the fact that the unemployment rate in the African-American community is 15.8 percent,” the freshman congressman said Monday.

The Washington Times notes that in an interview on CNN over the weekend, Rep. Clyburn said he wasn’t calling Gingrich a racist, but said that the Republican candidate was using racist language.

“All of this carries certain connotations that people know very very well," Rep. Clyburn said. “I’m saying he’s appealing to an element in the party that sees Obama as different that any of the other presidents that we’ve had.”

Mediaite captured the exchange:


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