Gingrich: Most Americans Would Rather Earn a Paycheck Than Be Dependent on Food Stamps

By Melanie Arter | January 16, 2012 | 9:46 PM EST

( - GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich told the South Carolina Tea Party Convention on Monday that if every American were asked whether they wanted their children to grow up in a world where they had the right to earn a paycheck or a where they are dependent on the federal government for food stamps, the majority would choose a paycheck.

Gingrich said as House speaker in the 1990s, "We got a Democratic president to sign welfare reform. Two out of three people were back to work or went to school. We got a Democratic president to sign the first tax cut in 16 years, including the largest capital gains tax cut in history. Unemployment dropped to 4.2 percent, as we created 11 million new jobs, and in that setting, we balanced the federal budget for four years in a row, paying off $405 billion in debt - the only time in your lifetime we balanced the budget four years in a row."

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"Now the reason I cite that is I've actually helped develop the public policies within which a total of 27 million new jobs were created in two decades. So I'd love to have a campaign whose central theme economically was: a paycheck president versus a food stamp president. President Obama's policies have forced more Americans onto food stamps than any other president in American history," he added.

"And so I think a paycheck versus food stamp campaign, and a paycheck versus food stamp debate would be very, very powerful," Gingrich said.