ATLANTA -- Jack Kingston of the 1st Congressional District is considered one of the front-runners in the republican race for Sen. Saxby Chambliss' seat.
He is well organized and financed and was running a textbook campaign until last month when he said this:
"Why don't you have the kids pay a dime, pay a nickel, to instill in them that there is no such thing as a free lunch; or maybe sweep the floor in the cafeteria."
It was the quote heard 'round the world of politics.
And despite his weeks of triage and TV appearances, democrats are still having a field day with it. Wednesday night Kingston was at the Georgia Young Republican's forum in Atlanta, which was appropriate because he's targeting much of his message to young people.
And that's what he says he was trying to do with that "sweep the floor" remark.
"To my critics I understand although I was not picking on any socio-economic group, I understand that they say you could've clarified that better. Legitimate criticism. But the reality is the question was about my work ethic, your work ethic, and all of our children's work ethic and what can we do to pass this value down to the next generation."
Despite repeated attempts to explain and clarify his remarks, Kingston acknowledges that there are just no Mulligans in today's political climate. But he stands by his intended message of instilling self-reliance in young people.
"I think we made it abundantly clear that the discussion was about the work ethic in America; and how so many of us adults when we were 14 or 15 years-old had chores inside and outside the house in which we learned things. And so whether you're Warren Buffet's child or my child, children can learn a lot by having chores."
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