At a Republican debate last Monday, former speaker Newt Gingrich claimed that "more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history." The Gingrich campaign quickly released a commercial the next day touting the same claim but it turns out that's not true, according to research by the Annernberg Public Policy Center's FactCheck.org.
"Gingrich would have been correct to say the number now on food aid is historically high," according to the most recent figures looked at by FactCheck.org. More details below:
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.
36 percent of those receiving food stamps are white, 22 percent were African American and 10 percent were Latino, according to the most recent Department of Agriculture report on the general characteristics of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or "food stamp" program.