I want to say they just don't get it, but its not true. The difference between Newt and Santorum on this is that as the The Root cogently points out, Santorum is basically a coward when it comes to talking about race. He just claims he didn't say what he said and wants to run from the issue. Newt on the other hand, is not one to throw a stone and then hide his hand. Oh no, Newt is going to insult you, and then tell you why its okay, you know, the old pee in your face and tell you its rain approach.
“I went back and pulled up the exact language of the text,” Mr. Gingrich told reporters on Friday. “I think you’d have to be nuts’’ to interpret the words as critical of blacks.
You have to be nuts to take Newt's stupid denials seriously. You're speaking to an audience of white people at a senior center in NH. You describe Obama as the biggest food stamp president of all time and then declare based on that analysis, that you will go to the NAACP and tell them to start demanding paychecks. Because when you are talking to a white audience, nothing makes the point better about welfare and dependency and not working than references to black folks and food stamps.
There is no natural relationship or nexus between his food stamp hit on the President and exhorting the NAACP to demand paychecks intstead of food stamps. The common factor of shared ethnicity is what makes it work. Newt knows that the comment is incendiary, offensive and plays to a stereotype. Nonetheless he declares to his white audience that he has the courage to go to the NAACP and say this offensive thing to their faces (an NAACP he's presumably talking to try to persuade them to his point of view).
The comment is clearly designed to curry favor with white voters by playing to a stereotype of blacks as lazy, welfare scamming people. It's certainly not intended to be persuasive to black people. You don't insult people you're trying to persuade. Santorum was working on reflex. Newt however is delivering his line very deliberately to stoke his white audience, feeding the stereotype to his audience to garner their approval and get their vote. Thats evil. Assholish. A real conservative would see the problem immediately, and further, would call it out.
If you're a republican/conservative who thought his comments were cool, who can't fathom what the problem with them is, then you're a lame ass conservative.