On Friday, December 2, 2011, Martin Bashir had Charlie Rangel on MSNBC to discuss remarks made by Newt Gingrich for suggesting those in poor neighborhoods needed greater access to jobs and a stronger work ethic.
Yes, that is the same Charlie Rangel who was censured in December, 2010, for tax evasion, including failure to pay taxes on rental income from a villa in the Dominican Republic, or to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in assets on financial disclosure forms. Ironic?
After listening to a sound clip in which Newt Gingrich makes his statement (see below), Martin Bashir asks Charlie Rangel about the remark.
Bashir asked Rangel: “As someone who represents a district in New York that includes some extremely poor neighborhoods, what’s your reaction to Mr. Gingrich? I mean, he’s suggesting poor people have no civilized habits whatsoever.”
To that question Rangel responded: “I don’t know how he receives millions of dollars as a historian when basically our nation started with poor people, the only thing going for them was hard work and hope. And this is happening throughout this country, indeed it’s happening throughout the world. The lack of sensitivity that this person has as a former member of Congress, but even more inconceivable as a leader of America and the free world, no, he just doesn’t get it.” [emphasis mine]
Bashir’s question includes “… no civilized habits whatsoever.” I don’t find Bashir’s assertion anywhere in either Gingrich statement. But that fact did not stop Rangel from responding, nor did he ask for clarification.
Further, Rangel’s response included, “…the only thing going for them was hard work and hope.” So, Charlie, are you agreeing with Gingrich or not?
Bashir continued, playing another Newt Gingrich sound clip (again, see below).
Bashir asked Rangel: “There he is again, talking about speaking to that preacher, advising people in the neighborhoods. Have you ever seen him strolling in your neighborhoods, in your district?”
Rangel responded: “I think we ought to make a formal invitation and see how every mother, single or married, wants the best for her child, black or white, Jew or Gentile, how hard they work during this time in order to find a job when you find five or six people looking for just one vacancy.” He continued, “And it’s so un-American and so un-Republican, this is not the Republican Party I’ve known since I’ve been involved in politics. This is a mean-spirited thing that the meaner you are, the more support you get from your party.” [again, emphasis mine]
Newt Gingrich’s statement: “Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works. So, they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of “I do this and you give me cash” unless it’s illegal. What if they became assistant janitors and their job was to mop the floor and clean the bathroom and you paid them?”
Newt Gingrich’s second statement: “We have to have the courage to walk into that neighborhood, to talk to that preacher, to visit that small business, to talk to that mother. And we have to have a convincing case that we actually know how to create jobs.”