By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – He has promised to offer up some “extraordinarily radical proposals” in his campaign for president, perhaps none more radical than the one announced last month at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge.

Former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich suggested inner-city schoolchildren can best learn the value of a paycheck by maintaining their own buildings.

“Most of these schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor, and pay local students to take care of the school,” Gingrich explained to a group of Harvard students and staff on November 18.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports

Over the past few days, with his lead in some polls growing, Gingrich has softened some of his language when talking about the proposal, but the core of his message has remained the same. He is trying to make the case that his plan teaches kids work habits they need to survive.

“We’re looking for methods to help the poorest children in America,” Gingrich said late last week. “We really want to create a pathway to work for people…When you have 43% black teenage unemployment, there’s a very, very severe challenge in making sure people get the work habit and learn the skills and the requirements of being successful.”

Gingrich has gotten some flak for these ideas. The Associated Press reports that today he clarified an earlier remark about nine-year-olds doing the dirty work. “I do not suggest children until about 14 or 15 years of age do heavy, dangerous janitorial work,” the presidential candidate told reporters. “On the other hand, there are a number of things done to clean buildings that are not heavy or dangerous.”

Comments (20)
  1. Italo says:

    Newt is funny. Did he ever hear of a little thing called “liability”? Oh, that’s right, forgive me for forgetting, these are Republicans for whom expendable income is no problem if they had to write out a check, so they wouldn’t know what the burden is of things called “costs.” And is it me, or is he beginning to physically metamorphose into “Maude” from ’70s TV? Sigh.

  2. tsal says:

    Newt is a joke and the saddest joke of all is that the right is rallying behind him as its presidential candidate. He blasts the democrats for anything to do with Fannie and Freddie while taking millions as a consultant for them. He feels child labor laws are foolish. He is so far out of touch with reality that he has no idea who the working poor are – or that they even exist.

    What is it that those supporting him approve of? You do have other choices, yet you rally around someone who is the epitome of Washington politics gone bad.

  3. John Adelman says:

    Master Janitor (aka chief child predator) get’s to have the children do all the heavy lifting. Why not let children be children? This gum and string solution to Social Problems.

    The underlying proposal is to keep poor, poor, just working poor. Some will be in the band, participate in sports, debate team, math club, OH YEAH, we got the IDIOT FLOOR SWEEPERS TOO! Might as well have badges made up for the IDIOT FLOOR SWEEPS, with scarlet letter; L for looser.

    No trick or treating tonight, have to buff the school hallways. No candy in your stocking, only coal. How about self confidence and character building activities supervised? I guess these kids should also be issued Orange jump suits, so we can easily see the Future Looser of America.

    Children need love and guidance; NOT JOBS! More unemployed adults replaced by child labor……….Next issue: Child Labor Camps!

  4. The Man says:

    Why are leftists against teens working??? Because working teens don’t need ‘social programs’ and thusly do not depend on the Government.

  5. baba447 says:

    your terrible Newt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!