The idea of 99 percent of the population versus 1 percent of the rich, which Occupy Wall Street protestors have made their mantra, is just wrong, GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich told Larry Kudlow Tuesday.
“I am for 100 percent,” he said. “I think this idea of 99 percent and 1 percent is grotesque European socialist class warfare baloney.”
And President Obama is playing right along with that class warfare by expressing sympathy for the protesters, he added.
“I repudiate anybody who wants to divide Americans and I think that that there is a fundamental destructive quality to this 99 percent idea,” Gingrich said. “I think that it is shameful the president of the United States would engage in class warfare and pit Americans against each other in way which can only be destructive of the fabric of American society.”
The former Speaker of the House, who is set to join the other seven candidates in a CNBC debate Wednesday, has been rising in the polls recently. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal pollon Monday put him in third place. In another survey, he’s just six points behind President Obama in a hypothetical match up.
If elected president, Gingrich plans to jump start the economy and create jobs by taking a page from Ronald Reagan.
The plan, he said, is simple—“lower taxes, less regulation, more American energy and work with the people who create jobs and don’t engage in class warfare against them.”
Gingrich noted that while he was Speaker of the House, he worked with President Clinton on reforming welfare and cutting taxes. But Clinton was a centrist, he said, while Obama is a genuine “radical” who has difficulty negotiating.
The candidate also addressed the sexual harassment allegations plaguing his rival Herman Cain, telling Kudlow that Cain did the right thing by addressing the claims.
“He was clear, he was forceful and he certainly deserves people giving him the benefit of the doubt," he said.
But, he noted, we'll have to wait and see how it plays out. “It’s not over yet,” he added.
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CNBC.com with wires.