The audience at Saturday night’s Republican presidential debate gave their loud seal of approval to the idea of removing restrictions on child labor.
For over a week, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R) has been suggesting that poor children should be in the workforce. He has said that janitorial jobs are appropriate for children, and has lauded the idea of 5-year-olds working.
During Saturday’s debate at Drake University in Iowa, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) pointed to the child labor issue as an example of the difference between him and Gingrich.
“I think every person up here worked at a young age,” Gingrich declared. “What I suggested was kids ought to be able to work part time in schools, particularly in the poorest neighborhoods.”
“If you take one half of the New York janitors, who are paid more than the teachers. An entry-level janitor gets paid twice as much as an entry-level teacher. You take half those janitors, you could give lots of poor kids a work experience in the cafeteria, in the school library, in the front office, in a lot of different things. I’ll stand by the idea young people ought to learn how to work.”
With that, the Republican audience erupted with applause.
GOP debate crowds at previous debates have cheered the death penalty and letting a man without insurance die. They have also booed a gay U.S. soldier.
Watch this video from ABC News, broadcast Dec. 10, 2011.