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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Jack Kingston remarks draw criticism in Senate race

Jack Kingston

Jack Kingston

After stirring controversy over comments about having children work to receive free school lunches, U.S. Senate candidate Jack Kingston, a Savannah congressman, is defending his comments.

Kingston said he was having an open discussion about the work ethic in America, and on CNN he blamed Democrats for releasing the comments out of context to create a fight.

But fellow Republican candidate David Perdue said the comments were thoughtless.

“With all the nonsense worth criticizing in Washington right now, Congressman Kingston chose to ridicule children who, through no fault of their own, rely on free school lunches,” said Perdue, the former CEO of Dollar General. “The congressman should be focused on growing the economy so that these children’s parents have quality jobs and don’t need the assistance.”

The cousin of former Gov. Sonny Perdue said Kingston, who has been in office for 20 years shares the responsibility for Congress’s reckless spending.

“I find it offensive that a career politician who has been part of piling up a massive debt is criticizing the very children that will inherit it,” Perdue said. “If the congressman is looking for someone to shame, he should look in the mirror, not our public school lunchrooms. … I think we should apply the Kingston logic to Congress, he should either give up his federal pension or be ready to pick up a broom and start sweeping the National Mall when he leaves office. … If anyone is getting a free lunch these days, it is Congress.”

Perdue faces three sitting congressmen in the Republican primary — Kingston, Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey — and he pointed out that all three have made well-documented gaffes.

“As a party, we have to recognize that out-of-touch career politicians are not the best messengers for the conservative principles we believe in and practice in our everyday lives,” Perdue said. “In the midst of a debt crisis, an Obamacare disaster, and a stagnant economy, the American people are listening for alternatives. We can’t afford to miss out on this critical opportunity by emphasizing the wrong priorities.”

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via email at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.

For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/politics.