Gingrich Used to Favor 'Stupid' Child Labor Laws Newt ran ads in '96 slamming rival on child labor By Mark Russell, Newser Staff Posted Dec 12, 2011 5:51 AM CST 21 comments Comments Republican presidential candidates former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, right, take part in the Republican debate, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) (Newser) – Newt Gingrich may think that some child labor laws are "truly stupid" now, but back in 1996, he slammed an opponent for violating those laws, reports USA Today. Gingrich said in a 1996 attack ad that his opponent, Michael Coles, the former CEO of a major cookie company, was an "unscrupulous businessman" because he violated child labor laws in 1993. His opponent said that the violations were minor, involving two teenage workers who took out some trash using freight elevators, which cannot be operated by anyone under 18. Coles said that Gingrich's accusations were unfounded, but "it was just politics." After the race, he said that Gingrich "was a gentleman." However, Coles remains against Gingrich's latest idea, of allowing students to work simple janitorial jobs at their schools, saying there is no shortage of adults who need the work. "There are so many unfortunate people who would fill those jobs," he said.