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Gingrich slams media for distorting his comments on food stamps

UPDATED 9:40 a.m. ET

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich slammed the "elite" national media for distorting what he said about blacks and food stamps.

"You guys have distorted what I said," Gingrich said on CBS' "The Early Show" Friday, denying that he said blacks should be "satisfied with food stamps."

CBS News and other outlets reported Thursday that Gingrich said that if he were invited to speak to the NAACP, he would tell the civil rights group "why the African-American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps." (Watch the original comment here)

On "The Early Show," Gingrich was asked if he misspoke when he said African-Americans should be satisfied with food stamps.

"I said they shouldn't be (satisfied). I didn't say they were satisfied. You just reversed what I said," Gingrich told host Nancy Cordes.

"What I said was every American of every background has been endowed by their creator with a right to pursue happiness. Every American of every background should have an opportunity to get a job, not be dependent on food stamps. Every American of every background should be able to go to a school that actually works where they get educated," Gingrich said.

Gingrich said he would welcome a request to speak the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, "unlike most Republican candidates," because he wants to have a dialogue.

"Forty-three percent black teenage unemployment is totally unacceptable as an American future. Obviously, I'm happy to go and talk to anybody in America. I went on to say I'd be happy to talk to any Latino group or any other group that was interested in talking about having paychecks rather than food stamps," Gingrich said.

NAACP leader blasts Gingrich's food stamp comment

According to U.S. Census Bureau, about 28 percent of households that receive food stamps are African American, while 59 percent are white. According to the same report, about 78 percent of American households are white, while about 12 percent are black. (The overall population is 72.4 percent white and 12.6 percent black.)

Oscar Eason, President of NAACP State Conference of Alaska, Oregon and Washington State, told CBS News Gingrich's comment "goes right to the heart of real racism - that African Americans are lazy and don't want to work and depend entirely on handouts."

Full CBS News coverage: Newt Gingrich

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