Newt Gingrich is a Living Saint That Would Never Lie About Obama and Food Stamps
The former speaker made that claim Jan. 16 in a Republican debate in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and his campaign organization quickly inserted the snippet in a new 30-second TV ad that began running Jan. 18 in South Carolina.
Gingrich would have been correct to say the number now on food aid is historically high. The number stood at 46,224,722 persons as of October, the most recent month on record. And it's also true that the number has risen sharply since Obama took office.
But Gingrich goes too far to say Obama has put more on the rolls than other presidents. We asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition service for month-by-month figures going back to January 2001. And they show that under President George W. Bush the number of recipients rose by nearly 14.7 million. Nothing before comes close to that.
And under Obama, the increase so far has been 14.2 million. To be exact, the program has so far grown by 444,574 fewer recipients during Obama's time in office than during Bush's.
It's possible that when the figures for January 2012 are available they will show that the gain under Obama has matched or exceeded the gain under Bush. But not if the short-term trend continues. The number getting food stamps declined by 43,528 in October. And the economy has improved since then.
Gingrich often cites the number of persons on food stamps to support his view that the U.S. is becoming an "entitlement society," increasingly dependent on government aid. And he has a point. One out of seven Americans is currently getting food stamps.
But Gingrich strains the facts when he accuses Obama of being responsible. The rise started long before Obama took office, and accelerated as the nation was plunging into the worst economic recession since the Great Depression.
The economic downturn began in December 2007. In the 12 months before Obama was sworn in, 4.4 million were added to the rolls, triple the 1.4 million added in 2007.
Day after day, year after year conservatives show utter contempt for many values, especially the truth. In matters of character and leadership how can a political movement based on a foundations of lies, smears, distortions and myths be trusted. When a political movement lies this much it historically means they are sleaze bags of one sort or the other.