WASHINGTON -- Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said Sunday on "Meet the Press" that the recent conspiracy theory about the Obama administration illegally tampering with jobs data "rings true."
"It rings true on a deeper level, without getting into the conspiracy about the Bureau of Labor standards," Gingrich said, before saying that Welch's point is "worth looking at." Gingrich also called the idea of the Department of Labor having an error in its jobs survey data "plausible but irrelevant."
"The president of the United States is so deeply distrusted by people like Jack Welch, who is hardly a right-winger," Gingrich said. "He is one of the most successful businessmen in America. Welch instantly assumes this is the Chicago machine."
The U.S. Department of Labor reported on Friday that the unemployment rate had dropped to 7.8 percent -- lower than it was when Obama entered office. The statistical change undercuts a theme for the Mitt Romney campaign, which has highlighted that the unemployment rate has been over 8 percent for virtually the entirety of Obama's presidency.
Almost immediately after the report was released, former General Electric CEO Jack Welch floated the conspiracy theory that Obama is cooking the books on jobs data for political gain.
MSNBC host Chris Hayes noted Saturday that Welch "knows a thing or two about hitting earnings targets" -- a reference to GE's pattern of legally questionable statistical maneuvering to meet profit goals under Welch.
Gingrich is the most recent of several Republican politicians to support the accusation that Obama is fixing the jobs numbers, a claim for which no actual evidence has yet been presented.
"The idea that Donald Trump, Jack Welch, rich people with crazy conspiracies, can get traction on this is a bad trend," former Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said Sunday on "Meet The Press." "I assume, David, there's a number of people that believe that the real unemployment report is somewhere safe in Nairobi with the president's Kenyan birth certificate. This stuff is crazy."
Correction: An earlier version of this article misquoted Gingrich as saying, "It rings true to me." The article has been updated to reflect the correct quote.