Newt Gingrich has put up his first TV ad in Florida, which has taken clips from his South Carolina debate claims that "more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any other president in American history."
This statement is of course false. While there are a record number of people on food stamps now, nothing comes close to the rising number of food stamp recipients under President George W. Bush.
Here are the facts:
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.
Gingrich has also used the food stamp reference as a "dog whistle" to imply that African Americans are the largest group of food stamp recipients, which is also a false assumption. The largest number of those on food stamps are white.
- 47 percent of beneficiaries were children under age 18.
- 8 percent were age 60 or older.
- 41 percent lived in a household with earnings from a job — the so-called “working poor.”
- The average household received a monthly benefit of $287.
- 36 percent were white (non-Hispanic), 22 percent were African American (non-Hispanic) and 10 percent were Hispanic
As always, you can't believe everything you hear in a political ad.