Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) defended GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich on Monday, arguing that the former House speaker's repeated claims of President Obama being "the greatest food-stamp president" were correct and devoid of any racial undertones.
"There is no race code," West said on Fox News' "Fox and Friends." "In fact, since President Obama has been in office you've seen a 4 to 1 increase in food-stamp recipients in the United State of America."
West continued: "We have a president that's making more American victims rather than victors ... We also have a 16 percent increase in Americans on the poverty roll -- 6.4 million more Americans are on poverty since President Obama took office."
Gingrich's attack on Obama as a "food-stamp president" has been a feature throughout his campaign, including during his victory speech after the South Carolina primary on Saturday.
The former speaker of the House continued to defend the refrain as accurate on Sunday, during an appearance on CNN:
"I think it's unfortunate that liberal leaders, whatever their ethnic background, can't have an honest, open debate about policies that fail," he said. "The fact is, far more whites than blacks are on food stamps."
West has displayed cautious enthusiasm toward Gingrich in his previous analysis of the presidential race. While he's claimed that he's not ready to endorse a candidate, in an interview with Newsmax earlier this year he praised Gingrich as the "smartest person" in the field. Last year, however, West said that Gingrich bore a "200-pound rucksack" of political baggage on his back.