With his poll numbers continuing to climb, presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich says he feels “very good” about securing the Republican nomination. The former House speaker also told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren Thursday he would support a program that allows children from poor urban neighborhoods to gain work experience, thereby helping lift Americans out of poverty.
Van Susteren asked about a statement he made earlier in the day, which indicated he was confident he would be the GOP nominee.
“Well, look, it’s always up to the voters and so we have to win Iowa on January 3rd; we have to go on and be very, very competitive in New Hampshire — which is Mitt Romney’s base — and then we have to win South Carolina and Florida,” Gingrich said. “But I think we have a real chance to do that, and I feel very good about it tonight. The people decide — and in the end, they’ve got to make the decision. But certainly, it’s moving in the right direction. You know, for a guy who was dead in June, this is pretty exciting.”
Van Susteren then asked Gingrich about comments he made about giving children from poor neighborhoods the opportunity to get paid job experience and to explain how such a program would work.
“Well, think about somebody who grows up in a neighborhood where nobody goes to work. They live in a housing project where there are no examples of success — they don’t acquire any of the habits,” Gingrich said. “I first started thinking about this years ago, when liberals would say: ‘Oh, you don’t want to get a hamburger-flipping job.’ And I thought to myself: That’s exactly backwards — any job beats no work experience — any job is the first step up on the ladder of success.
“And when I interview really successful people, they very often started work [at] 12, 13, 14 years of age selling newspapers, mowing lawns, doing something that enabled them to learn,” he said. “And so what I’m trying to think through is: Could we build a new program that allows children who have come out of very poor neighborhoods to have some work experience that’s practical, that’s real, that gives them a little bit of money, teaches them there’s a relationship between effort and discipline and a better future?”
Gingrich said with discussions mainly centering on the rich and the middle class, Washington needs a concrete plan to lift Americans — particularly those who live in poor urban neighborhoods — out of poverty.
“Part of this grew out of a speech I gave at the American Enterprise Institute . . . and the point I made was one of the keys to income inequality is the fact that we don’t find mechanisms to help the poor learn how to be productive, learn how to be prosperous, learn how to budget,” the former speaker said. “And the trick is not just income transfer, because if all we do is give you money that you waste and you don’t gain any new habits . . . it’s the opposite of Lao Tzu, who said, you know, to feed a man for a day, you give him a fish, but to feed him for a lifetime, you teach him how to fish. I want us to learn how to help the poorest children in America learn how to fish in a modern information age, and learn how to make money, and how to have jobs.
“And that’s why I’m trying to experiment with ways of — how do we help them break out so they can join the rest of us in leading productive, prosperous lives,” Gingrich said.
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