Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) believed Sunday morning that Newt Gingrich is using racially tinged language on the campaign trail.

The congressman was asked by CNN's Candy Crowley about Gingrich repeatedly calling President Obama a "food stamp president" and other comments that have drawn criticism as being racist.

"It's appealing to the tea party element when you say Barack Obama is the best food stamp president we have ever have," Clyburn said. "That limits his presidency to an element of dependency."

"Is that necessarily a racist comment?" Crowley asked.

"It's not necessarily so," Clyburn replied. "But the welfare queen being uttered by Ronald Reagan is not necessarily a comment of dependency. But people know what that means. Richard Nixon, a 'Southern strategy.' All of this carries certain connotations that people know very very well. And I think that he has practiced that perfectly."

Clyburn added that he doesn't think Gingrich is racist.

WATCH: Video from CNN, which was broadcast on January 22, 2012.