February 27th, 2012

Douglas MacKinnon, former aide to President Reagan, says Republicans ‘have to start listening to the poor’

On Early Start, Douglas MacKinnon, former aide to President Reagan, discusses how politicians are approaching the poverty issue and his support of Newt Gingrich for the Republican candidacy.

On how politicians are addressing poverty, MacKinnon says, “So many politicians are pandering to the subject every two or four years for the obvious reasons because they want to try to get some votes. But in reality, they don’t understand the issue because most of them have never come from it, never seen it, never touched it, and ultimately, never will. And that’s the saddest thing of all for the poor of America… I think for Republicans, if they want to grow the party, if they want to survive, they have to reach out to the poor, they have to reach out to minority America. They have to start listening to the poor. Again, that applies to both sides for sure.”

When Sambolin asks MacKinnon if he agrees with Gingrinch’s statement that ‘poor children…have no habits of working’, he responds, “You know, I really don’t, because again, those examples exist… But if he’s never in those neighborhoods, if he’s never exposed to that society, he’s never going to see those examples… I think ultimately out of the four, he’s trying to understand the issue of poverty better than any of them. I’m honestly disappointed with the entire Republican slate, to tell you the truth. But regardless, I think he’s at least more open to listening to the issue to try and find some solutions, even if unfortunately, he does say ignorant and silly things from time to time.”

Early Start with Ashleigh Banfield and Zoraida Sambolin airs week mornings from 5-7am ET on CNN.