The Associated Press had an excellent article this morning, “Gingrich faces tough questions at black church”. Although most African-Americans do not vote Republican, Newt Gingrich spoke before an African Methodist Episcopal church in South Carolina. And he got to hear some negative reactions to his rhetoric. Some of his audience feel that Gingrich is implying that their communities have not even been trying to help their own young people. And they also have questions about Newt’s workfare proposal for kids as well as his statement that Barack Obama is a “food stamp” President.
I applaud Newt Gingrich for speaking to this church, and I also applaud people in his audience for asking honest and tough questions. I think that the Republican Party can only reach out successfully to African-Americans if it makes a genuine attempt to see where they are coming from. Many may feel that Newt is clueless on race, and they could be right on that. But Newt at least put himself in a position to listen to African-Americans’ concerns, as well as to clarify some of his own policy proposals.