After Newt Gingrich recently proclaimed that "more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any President in American history," presumably referring to the straightforward statistic that a record number of Americans now receive food stamp assistance, FactCheck.org set out to prove him wrong.
In its analysis , FactCheck.org interpreted Gingrich's statement as referring only to the number of additional people who have been added to the program during the Obama administration, and, after noting that 14.7 million people were added during the eight years of the Bush presidency, and that another 14.2 million have been added so far during the Obama administration, concluded that the GOP presidential candidate's statement is therefore wrong.
The site followed up by noting that the total number of recipients at present is indeed at a record high total number, standing at over 46 million, which is most likely what Gingrich meant in the first place.
But MSNBC host Al Sharpton on Saturday night misstated the numbers during his network's coverage of the South Carolina Republican primary, as he incorrectly seemed to claim that the total number of food stamp recipients currently stands at 14.2 million, and that the number stood at a higher 14.7 million during the Bush administration.
As Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council appeared as a guest at about 9:55 p.m., Sharpton suggested that Gingrich has been "demonizing" the poor, and made his mathematical faux pas:
AL SHARPTON: You're right about forgiving personal character questions, but what about social policies? This whole demonizing of poor people and dealing with those that need help, isn't it really part of the Christian spirit and the evangelical community to really reach out, as Jesus did, to those that are underprivileged and that need help, rather than demonize them?
And when we hear Mr. Gingrich talk about food stamp people and "food stamp President" when there were 14.7 million food stamp people under Bush, only 14.2 under Mr. Obama, doesn't truth and being understanding of the poor also fit into the Christian spirit?
- Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center