CNN's Cafferty Quotes Liberal Columnist to Suggest Gingrich Is 'Clueless' About African-Americans

CNN's Jack Cafferty pulled from a liberal news site to emphasize Newt Gingrich's ignorance in race relations, on Tuesday's The Situation Room. He began his commentary with a blunt assessment that Gingrich is "clueless" about African-Americans, then attributed the words to liberal Daily Beast columnist Peter Beinart.

Cafferty scolded Gingrich's conduct at Monday's GOP debate in South Carolina, attesting that he "dismissed" moderator Juan Williams' question about race and sensitivity concerning his own remarks, and was applauded by a "mostly-white crowd."

The CNN commentator went on to help smear the Republican Party, quoting Beinart that the GOP is a "cultural and intellectual bubble" and adding that such words are "not very encouraging for the Republican Party when it comes to trying to get blacks to vote for them" – as if Beinart's liberal opinion is a credible key voice in the matter.

He also made sure to emphasize that Gingrich was a "native Georgian" speaking on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to help underline his suggestion that the native-Southern Republican candidate was pandering to a Southern Republican crowd and most everyone there was tone-deaf to race.

[Video below.]

One of the most bizarre points Beinart made – and Cafferty upheld – was that Gingrich calling President Obama the "food stamp president" is insensitive to the African-American community. "Gingrich doesn't get why calling Obama the 'food stamp president' is highly offensive to blacks, given the history of blacks in this country," Cafferty sounded, echoing the Beinart column.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on January 17 at 4:14 p.m. EST, is as follows:


JACK CAFFERTY: Newt Gingrich is clueless when it comes to African-Americans. So writes Peter Beinart in a pretty tough Daily Beast column using Gingrich's own words from last night's Republican debate as proof. Before we start here, keep in mind this is the debate that was held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in South Carolina.

One of the moderators, Juan Williams, who is black, asked Gingrich whether some poor and minority voters might be insulted by his comments, like when Gingrich said poor kids lack a work ethic and black people should be instructed to demand jobs, not food stamps. Gingrich, a native Georgian, pretty much dismissed the question and the crowd applauded. So Williams tried again, asking if Gingrich's words aren't belittling to the poor and to blacks.

(Video Clip)


JUAN WILLIAMS, Fox News GOP debate moderator: You saw some of this during your visit to a black church in South Carolina, where a woman asked you why you refer to President Obama as "the food stamp president." It sounds as if you are seeking to belittle people.


GINGRICH: Well, first of all, Juan, the fact is that more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history.


GINGRICH: Now, I know among the politically correct, you're not supposed to use facts that are uncomfortable.


(End Video Clip)

CAFFERTY: Gingrich finished this exchange. He got a standing ovation from the mostly white crowd.

Beinart writes what's fascinating here is that Gingrich is not a racist and he believes the former House Speaker genuinely cares about black poor people. Beinart suggests Gingrich's problem is ignorance. Suggesting blacks and their leaders don't consider jobs important shows how out of touch Gingrich is with African-American politics and the priority that black leaders have put on jobs.

What's more – and this is probably the worst part, it's all pretty tough – Gingrich doesn't get why calling Obama the "food stamp president" is highly offensive to blacks, given the history of blacks in this country. Beinart writes, quote, "The most plausible explanation in all this is that Gingrich inhabits a cultural and intellectual bubble. A bubble called the Republican Party." Unquote. Tough stuff – and not very encouraging for the Republican Party when it comes to trying to get blacks to vote for them.

Here's the question, then: Does Newt Gingrich just not have a clue when it comes to African Americans?

- Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center