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Federal File: Not a moose; Racial Remarks

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When Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., visited New Hampshire this month, he spent a morning looking for moose--and found a disgruntled teacher with strong opinions.

As his caravan stopped early in the morning of June 11 on the banks of the Androscoggin River near Errol, N.H., Mr. Gingrich alerted journalists to a photo opportunity--the Speaker chatting with a couple of fly fishermen, hip deep in water.

But according to news reports, one fisherman, Tim Kipp, a 48-year-old high school history teacher, erupted.

"Your politics are some of the meanest politics I've ever heard," the teacher told Mr. Gingrich in an exchange reported in The New York Times and several other newspapers.

Mr. Gingrich reportedly took the criticism in stride and wished Mr. Kipp good luck on his fishing.

But Mr. Kipp wasn't finished. "The water we're fishing in right now will be destroyed by his politics," he said, referring to the Speaker.

Mr. Gingrich, meanwhile, resumed his search for moose. He later told reporters that Mr. Kipp, who hails from Brattleboro, Vt., lacked the traditional "New Hampshire conservatism."

Mr. Gingrich weighed in last week on race, schools, and children in a conversation with black journalists.

According to The Washington Post, he said that if money spent on school busing over the last 30 years had been spent on "intensive education" in neighborhood schools, more children could have overcome their poverty.

When asked whether he thought the U.S. Supreme Court's 1954 decision banishing school segregation was wrong, Mr. Gingrich replied: "I'm saying you have separate schools now."

"This is not about integration versus segregation," he reportedly said. "This is about achievement versus non-achievement."

The Speaker did not call for an end to busing, but said "it should be questioned."

The Post also reported that Mr. Gingrich acknowledged that the nation is not colorblind. When asked what he would tell black children about their opportunities, he said: "If you're black you have to work harder, and if you're black and poor you have to work twice as hard."

The discussion was sponsored by National Minority Politics, a new magazine based in Houston that is seen by some Republicans as a means to reach out to minority voters.

--Mark Pitsch

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