Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich today published a memo to Republican candidates urging them to cast the Democratic Party as the party of food stamps while calling the GOP the party of paychecks.
Gingrich urged candidates to make that message their "closing argument" to voters in the final weeks of the election season.
"A closing argument is the central choice you want voters to have in mind as they head to the voting booths," Gingrich wrote. "It should be very simple and resonate at a personal, emotional level with the American people."
In 1980, Ronald Reagan offered "Morning in America" as his closing argument, Gingrich said, and in 1994, Republicans presented their "Contract with America" as their closing argument. Gingrich was a coauthor of the latter document.
This year, he said, the House Republicans'"has set the stage for a powerful, symbolic closing argument for candidates seeking to unseat the left-wing, big spending, job killing Democrats: paychecks versus food stamps."
The former speaker pointed out that the number of Americans receiving food stamps rose to record levels this year. "It turns out that Barack Obama's idea of spreading the wealth around was spreading more food stamps around," he wrote. Unemployment, he noted, has climbed from 4.6 percent in 2007 to 9.6 percent today.
Republicans should compare those figures to those from the era of the 1994 Republican-led Congress, Gingrich argued, stating that in four years, unemployment fell, food stamp usage dropped, and the deficit was turned into a surplus.
"You can use this vivid contrast between the record of the Pelosi-Reid Democratic Congress and the last time the Republican Party took control of Congress," wrote Gingrich, who has repeatedly suggested he is considering a presidential run in 2012.
Candidates should also highlight the fact that the Democrats have not yet extended the Bush tax cuts, Gingrich said, to hammer home the food stamps vs. paychecks argument.
"Small business owners who may be considering hiring new employees must now operate under the assumption that their taxes will rise in January," he wrote. "That means a smart businessman will decline to hire anyone new since there will soon be less money to pay their employees. In other words, more food stamps, fewer paychecks."
Stephanie Condon is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.