********************************************************************************* * * * * PELOSI: Gingrich as President: “THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN” (below fold) * * * *
Was there an important speech last night? I heard something about the POTUS speaking. Oh well, I missed that one.
Now that I think about Newt walking out onto the debate stage the other night, he actually walks like a duck! Do you remember that profile shot from behind the curtain, looking out toward the audience as Mr. Gingrich walked out? He sorta waddled.
In all seriousness . . .
Monday night, Gingrich told the us that he was merely acting as a concerned “citizen” in all these jobs he has had earning multi-millions of dollars. Right. Again, what do we know? We are all simply naive.
A number of sources yesterday checked into whether Mr. Gingrich used his influence inappropriately. Here is what we find from CNN‘s Truth Squad. You judge:
The New York Times also reported last month that the world’s largest insulin maker, Novo Nordisk, had hired Gingrich to help “position itself as a thought leader” to raise awareness about diabetes.
Former Colorado Rep. Marilyn Musgrave told CNN last month that Gingrich called her at the height of the 2003 debate urging her to vote for the bill.
“Newt called me to vote yes,” said Musgrave, who is now director at the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List.
“He asked for a yes vote on a Medicare prescription drug benefit,” she said. “Dick Armey” — a former House majority leader — “called me and wanted a no. But I had already made up my mind to vote not to expand an entitlement that we were going to have to pay for down the road.”
Musgrave, who is neutral in the presidential race, said she was not sure if Gingrich was technically “lobbying” when he called her, because she did not know if he was working for anyone else at the time.
“All I know is he wanted a yes,” Musgrave said.
Musgrave was one of 19 House Republicans who voted against the plan, which passed 220-215.
Two other Republicans who served in Congress at the time, Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake and Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, told the Des Moines Register last month that they interpreted Gingrich’s actions as lobbying.
“He told us, ‘If you can’t pass this bill, you don’t deserve to govern as Republicans,’ ” Flake told the paper. “If that’s not lobbying, I don’t know what is.”
According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the bill is projected to cost nearly $1 trillion from 2010 through 2020. The price tag for Medicare Part D was added to the nation’s deficit.
“It was a huge entitlement” that left the insurance and drug industries as big winners, said Uwe Reinhardt, a professor of health economics at Princeton.
The editors of the National Review, by no means always friends of Governor Romney, take a hard look at the four remaining GOP candidates, warts and all, and conclude that Newt is the wrong answer.
Newt’s basis for candidacy is based in part on his much-repeated argument that he can successfully debate President Obama. I’ve never thought being a good debater is enough of a qualification to be the leader of the free world. Notwithstanding, the editors respond, unconvinced, that Newt even has the ability to successfully debate Obama or that it matters:
Gingrich’s best moments in the debates have come when he has hammered the press for liberalism and triviality. Republicans have responded positively, in part because they think, as we do, that the mainstream media has had too much influence over the Republican nomination contest because of all of these media-sponsored debates. The general election will be very different. It is unlikely that the debates will be as numerous or will matter as much; they rarely do.
A big part of Newt’s success was two attacks on the media in two successive debates. But the editors are similarly unconvinced this is a winning trait in a general election. They also remember that Newt, in his long history, was never called on before to be the voice of the GOP:
The public at large dislikes the media too, but not with the same intensity that conservatives do: Gingrich as nominee would have to train his fire on Obama, who will be able to fight back as John King could not. Nor will the public at large be as impressed by Gingrich’s willingness to attack Obama as a clueless radical as Republicans are. (If voters decide in 2012 to reward the most slashing or sardonic debater before them with the presidency, it will be a first.) When Republicans found themselves in tight spots during the Reagan presidency, they waited for their leader to give a speech to show them the way forward and rally the troops. When Gingrich was Speaker, Republicans never sought him to intervene in legislative debates to turn the tide.
They continue, pointing out that even if Gingrich is a good debater, as George Will says of Newt, four hours of successful debating doesn’t make one worthy of four years of trust with nuclear weapons. Romney alone in the crowd has executive experience, and only he and Santorum have been successful in a general election in a region any bigger than a Congressional district:
There is much more to general elections than debates, and there is much more to the presidency than giving speeches. On an intellectual level Gingrich knows this, but he has little experience either in contesting elections with large numbers of voters of varying views or in running large organizations. Romney has executive experience, unlike Gingrich or Santorum, and in past elections voters have seemed to value that experience. … Only Gingrich has never been elected to office from anything larger than a congressional district; only Gingrich has never had to reach beyond the Republican base vote to win an election.
On top of all that, Gingrich is still remembered as the guy pictured on Newsweek magazine in the form of the Grinch who stole Christmas:
Gingrich has been a nationally known figure for a long time: when the economy was booming and when it has been in a slump; when Republicans were on top and when the public disliked them; when the national mood was sunny and when it was sour. Amid all the tumult of the last 18 years there has been this constant: Gingrich has never been popular. Polls have never shown more than 43 percent of the public viewing him favorably at any point in his career. Gingrich backers say that he is inspiring. What he mostly seems to inspire is opposition.
And, lest we forget, he has, euphemistically speaking, “baggage.” I think the time has come to be clear what this means: he has two failed marriages, told two former wives they were unworthy of him and his “grandiose” plans (one while sick with MS), a current wife who was once “the other woman,” 180 ethics violations, $300,000 in related fines and a roomful of documents in the possession of Nancy Pelosi ready to be sprung as an “October surprise” when the Democrats feel ready. He may say he’s sought forgiveness from God, but that doesn’t mean a general electorate will trust him.
It should go without saying that Gingrich also offers more material than the other candidates for Democrats to drive his numbers in the wrong direction. Any Republican nominee will draw criticism for being too biased toward the rich. Not every Republican nominee will be attacked for cruelty in his personal life.
They rightfully conclude that nominating Newt would be the wrong gamble at the wrong time:
None of these candidates can be guaranteed to beat Obama (or run a successful White House), and under the right circumstances any of them could. For Republicans to choose Gingrich, though, would be a gamble, with everything from the Supreme Court to Obamacare to our nation’s alliances riding on the outcome.
Lest anyone believe otherwise, Newt Gingrich is the wrong answer.
~Addendum from Ross
Find out what President Reagan thought of Gingrich below the fold.
It’s all downhill from here for Newt … I’m predicting right here and now that Gingrich has hit his high point and is about to whither under the forthcoming information about his last 15 years spent in lobbying/influence-peddling activities. The following will make for a beautiful montage using the disgraced and ousted former Speaker’s own words … and the timing and subject are perfect for anyone who doesn’t want Newt as the nominee. Why? Because it’s Fannie and Freddie and Florida folks! Florida took a hit second only to Nevada in the housing crisis and these GSEs (Government Sponsored Entities) were at the root of the problem. This is the perfect storm. The script will play out perfectly.
Remember when Newt said on Fox News “I do no lobbying of any kind. I never have. A very important point to make. I have never done lobbying of any kind.”
How about his ludicrous initial claim back in the November CNBC debate that he was paid by them to be a “historian” who told them how “insane” they were?
Sure Newt. At least we now know that he was lying through his teeth. He released one year of this contract yesterday and there was no mention of him being a “historian” but rather he was hired as a “consultant” by and to the chief lobbyist of Freddie Mac. Well, as it turns out, “consultant” was just a euphemism for “lobbyist” and Newt’s whole story doesn’t pass the smell test.
Over a month ago, Mitt challenged Newt on this claim calling Newt “the highest paid historian in history”
a spokeswoman for [Gingrich's] firm said it was unable to find an earlier contract dating to 1999 and renewed until 2002. The spokeswoman, Susan Meyers, also could not say whether Gingrich or any of its employees produced any written reports for Freddie Mac as part of the nearly $1.8 million in consulting fees it was paid.
Well, today’s news from Politico is especially damning to Newt and proves that he was involved in hard core lobbying efforts for the controversial and beleaguered GSE:
New details from Newt Gingrich’s contracts worth $1.6 million with Freddie Mac show that the Republican hopeful wasn’t just a boardroom consultant, but served as a high-profile booster for the beleaguered organization. He even gave a rallying speech to dozens of the group’s political action committee donors in the spring of 2007.
Shortly after the “rah, rah” speech, as one source described it, Gingrich gave an interview for the Freddie Mac website, where he supported the group’s model at length. The interview is no longer on Freddie’s site.
Gingrich said in the interview that Freddie has “made an important contribution to home ownership and the housing finance system,” even though many Republicans revile it.
On April 3, 2007, Gingrich gave a presentation to employee donors of Freddie Mac’s political action committee, according to several sources familiar with the presentation. It was the “rah, rah” speech described by a source who worked closely with Freddie at the time. Newt spoke about what was going on in the country and he offered his view of the issues.
That same day, Gingrich spoke to a larger Freddie Mac employee cabal where he explained his vision for transforming bureaucratic government into a “21st century organization” — a signature talking point for Gingrich who focused on technology in government early on.
Later that month, Gingrich also gave a “feature interview” that appeared on Freddie Mac’s website providing an extensive Q&A where the former Speaker of the House defended the government-sponsored enterprise model, according to a copy obtained by POLITICO.
Gingrich went so far as to say that “I’m convinced that if NASA were a GSE, we probably would be on Mars today.”
Freddie Mac declined to comment. A Gingrich spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“The housing GSEs have made an important contribution to homeownership and the housing finance system,” Gingrich said in the interview. “We have a much more liquid an stable housing finance system than we would have without GSEs. So while we need to improve the regulation of the GSEs, I would be very cautious about fundamentally changing their role or the model itself.”
Further Gingrich acknowledged that this is not a viewpoint conservatives normally embrace. “Well, it’s not a point of view libertarians would embrace,” he said in the interview. “But I am more in the Alexander Hamilton-Teddy Roosevelt tradition of conservatism. I recognize that there are times when you need government to help spur private enterprise and economic development.”
Really Newt?!?!? Really People? This is the “conservative alternative” to Mitt?!?! Wow . . . Just wow . . .
These revelations make Newt both a liar and a lobbyist. Sounds like just what Obama would like to run against.
Gingrich — adamant that he wasn’t a lobbyist as he explained why he only released one year of his Freddie Mac contract, which dated to 1999 (he uttered something about going through a confidentiality process) — volunteered that at his firm, they brought in a “lobbying expert” to explain to his team what qualified as lobbying and what didn’t.
That expert “is prepared to testify,” Gingrich said.
Romney didn’t pounce. But why one would hire a “lobbying expert” other than to explain to staff how to walk up to the “bright line” Gingrich described, but not legally cross it, was not clear.
So Newt’s got his lawyer ready to say that Newt never officially lobbied with Fannie/Freddie . . . or at least he was trained/coached as to where that line is. However, what’s that old saying that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck . . . ? Newt’s trying to be too cute by half, and it’s the beginning of the end for him!
The American people want a TRUE DC outsider, that man is NOT Newt . . . it’s Mitt!!
The contract specifically excluded lobbying services, stating “nothing herein is or shall be construed as an agreement to provide lobbying services of any kind or engage in lobbying activities.”
The second contract released Tuesday night provides more detail on the work Gingrich was hired to perform, including “serve as advisor to Freddie Mac in the areas of strategic planning and public policy.” It also called on Gingrich, who is mentioned by name in the second contract, to “engage in discussions” with Freddie Mac’s chief lobbyist and senior officers “to strategize on approaches to Freddie Mac business opportunities and challenges.” Gingrich, who was hired to help the company reach out to Republicans, also was expected to “contribute to Freddie Mac corporate planning and business goals” and to “meet with major stakeholders of Freddie Mac.”
The contract also states that “neither The Gingrich Group nor Newt Gingrich will provide lobbying services of any kind nor participate in lobbying activities on Freddie Mac’s behalf.”
OK, so the document essentially says that Newt is going to lobby for Freddie Mac, but that no one can call it or construe it as lobbying. That will play really well with folks, eh?
Even MORE revealing is that Newt’s campaign is trying to pull a switch-a-roo / misdirection trick here by releasing these contracts out of chronological order. So the 1999 contract says “no lobbying” but the 2006 contract contains no such phrase. Anyone notice a problem? Everyone knew and realized that Newt was lobbying and they couldn’t keep that terminology in the later contract. He would be more free in his activities advocating and lobbying in behalf of Freddie.
I believe another poster is going to address Newt’s lobbying to Congressmen for Medicare Part D when he was on the payroll as a consultant from several Pharmaceutical companies who would benefit from it’s passage. Kathleen Parker has just put up a column arguing my exact same point. Newt was a lobbyist:
Gingrich’s claim to have been hired as a historian, meanwhile, is a hard sell when no such role exists. It is also a stretch for him to present himself as an anti-establishment, Reagan-conservative rebel when he is raking in money for his association with companies, some of whose interests are anything but conservative.
Yet another mother lode for Gingrich has been the health care industry. Various companies paid Gingrich $55 million between 2001 and 2010, according to Bloomberg News. When asked what the companies received in return, Gingrich told The Post that they got to visit with “a really important guy who really knows a lot and who really has lots of information.” That person would be Gingrich’s Holy Trinity — Me, Myself and I.
He also earned more than a million from drugmaker Novo Nordisk, reportedly to help expand the U.S. market for its diabetes treatment. Again, there’s nothing wrong with this as long as Gingrich was honest about his role with the company. The company’s annual report to shareholders listed Gingrich under “public-policy activities,” which, the company added, “are often referred to as lobbying.”
He also personally urged GOP congressmen to support the $395 billion Medicare prescription drug benefit, according to, among others, Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and former congressmen Jeff Bradley (R-N.H.) and Butch Otter (R-Idaho).
I saw a segment on CNN today with Wolf Blitzer where Rep. Flake flat out stated that Gingrich lobbied him hard on voting for Medicare Part D. Also in that piece I found this nugget:
A lobbyist for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae whose tenure overlapped with Gingrich’s told me on background that both signed the same contract. This person immediately registered as a lobbyist and said that Gingrich was clearly exerting his influence, though he may have been able to maintain a legal, if not entirely ethical, distance from the definition of lobbying.
Oh, and let’s not forget that before Newt’s ties to Freddie/Fannie had been revealed, he was the one spouting off the harshest rhetoric of any GOP candidate calling for investigations and even imprisonment of congressmen who had ties to or profits from Freddie/Fannie. Wonder if he’d like to roll back that charge, or if he’s willing to apply his own harsh charges to the man in the mirror.
So, do you take Newt at his word that “I do no lobbying of any kind. I never have. A very important point to make. I have never done lobbying of any kind.” . . . ?
Any way you slice it, Newt is serving up large portions of his own “pious baloney.”
Numerous news organizations are publishing that Newt Gingrich may have cheated on his taxes in 2010. Here is what Forbes Magazine had to say:
“Newt Gingrich avoided tens of thousands of dollars in Medicare payroll taxes in 2010 by using a technique the Internal Revenue Service has consistently and successfully attacked.”
A Wall Street Journal subsidiary called MarketWatch wrote:
“Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich avoided paying about $69,000 in payroll taxes in 2010 by using a tax strategy that characterized money he collected from one of his companies as profits rather than salary, a tax expert said.
It’s been called the “John Edwards loophole” in the past, because the former presidential contender used the same strategy to pay himself from his law practice . . .There are a multitude of cases where the IRS has successfully challenged [this] improper tax strategy,” the tax expert said.
“The IRS could challenge it, if they wished. The IRS might make the case his salary should have been substantially larger” and subject to Medicare tax.” The Gingrich campaign declined to allow an interview with Gingrich’s tax preparer.
“Of course, now that Gingrich is running for president, it is unlikely the IRS will come after him as he would simply call it an attack by the Obama administration. Personally, I can’t wait to hear Newt find a way to blame this on the media. Or maybe he’ll tell us that he was so busy serving his country that he had to cheat the government in order to save the government.”
It seems that Newt Gingrich’s push to have Romney release his taxes has backfired. More than likely, we won’t have to wait until October to get a “surprise-a-day” from Newt Gingrich.
This is part 2 in a continuing series of questionable legal practices by Mr. Gingrich. Remember that improper tax payments were one of the main reasons the Speaker was forced to leave the Speakership in the 90′s. Click here for part I.
We all saw the debate last night and in my view Mitt took it to Newt, and Newt didn’t quite know how to handle it. Great debate prep by Mitt. A couple other suggestions:
1. Mitt needs to continue taking it to Newt. One of the exit poll results showed that people made their mind up in South Carolina very late, and were influenced by a perception that Newt would be able to take on President Obama. Those of us watching debates for more than a week know Mitt has no difficulty debating, but, like the rest of his message, he’s going to have to keep pounding it again and again: he’s the only guy that can take on Obama, not only on the debate stage but also in the general election.
2. Besides the style points, in my view Mitt must also take on the concept that Newt’s got the “big ideas.” I believe that’s false, and Mitt needs to compare his ideas vs. Newt’s to show why Mitt is the superior choice, particularly on the economy.
3. Newt still will not win a general election. Mitt’s point is right on, and can’t be repeated enough: Newt had a chance to lead the GOP in the 90s and was forced to resign due to ethics violations. That man can’t be the GOP’s standard bearer, end of story. Most news outlets I read that move beyond the reporting about “momentum” are all chuckling, especially the Democrats, at the prospect that Newt Gingrich could possibly be the GOP’s nominee. Obviously we’re not there yet, but it’s a horrifying prospect. One joking report was that liquor sales spiked in DC after the South Carolina results: champagne for the Democrats and whiskey for the GOP.
4. This election will be decided by independent voters. The GOP will carry the right. The Democrats will carry the left. The king makers are in the middle. While I believe the independents are ready to shake off Obama, I don’t believe they will do so with as much ease as one might think. Particularly if the economy, due to its usual resiliency, recovers in any degree before November, which may in fact happen. Mitt’s point isn’t that Obama caused the recession, but that he prolonged it. And it won’t be to Obama’s credit if there’s a recovery, but a recovery lessens the sting felt by people and will make independents harder to earn. Also, independents may agree in part with Obama’s argument that it’s the old GOP that caused the issues the economy has. Newt, as the consummate Washington insider, can’t distance himself from the policies of George W. Bush and the early 2000s GOP as easily as Mitt can. As a result, Newt can’t win independents. Aside from more ties to Bush, his positions are too “grandiose,” to use his own term. I’d say “nutty.” You can see my prior post about arresting Supreme Court justices, and look at Newt’s positions on child labor, moon colonies and more. He’s “an idea a minute,” per Rick Santorum, but no leadership. Independents are less likely to vote for someone rightfully viewed as extreme or unreliable. They will remember Newt’s past. The Democrats will bring it up. And if Newt is our nominee, I don’t think he can win.
Gideon Rachman of The Financial Times Says “Romney vs. Obama is What America Needs.”
This headline caught my attention today. To summarize, Gideon Rachman of the Financial Times (one of the world’s most prestigious financial journals) says Newt, while an amusing side show, complete with jilted wife, can’t beat Obama. He suggests American needs a debate of the merits of capitalism, and Mitt vs. Obama is the only way America can have it.
Hosted at the University of South Florida in Tampa, we’ll be recapping tonight’s political event with a roundup of the best live tweets, insights, comments and questions from around social media. We’re planning to update the thread below live throughout the night. If you would like to be part of the conversation, tweet your debate feedback to @PoliticsTBTimes or leave a comment on the Times Facebook page.
I’m looking forward to hearing The Gov punch through Gingrich’s glib gobbledygook.
As usual, Romney supporters are invited to join us on our chat box throughout the evening.
Let the gloves fly, Mitt!
► Jayde Wyatt
The chat box has been moved back to the sidebar.
Looks like the onslaught has already begun:
NOT THE HEADLINES NEWT WAS LOBBYING FOR…
Politico Headline: “Republican Debate: Mitt Romney Mauls Newt Gingrich In Florida”
· Politico: “Romney kept at it throughout the first half of the debate, criticizing Gingrich for having been rebuked by his GOP colleagues in the House, earning money as an advocate for Freddie Mac and teaming up with Nancy Pelosi to talk about global warming.” (Alexander Burns, “Republican Debate: Mitt Romney Mauls Newt Gingrich In Florida,” Politico, 1/23/12)
The New York Times: “In Shift, Romney Pounds Directly And Relentlessly On Gingrich At Debate” (Michael D. Shear, “In Shift, Romney Pounds Directly And Relentlessly On Gingrich At Debate,” The New York Times, 1/23/12)
· The New York Times: “During an answer from Newt Gingrich about his time as a consultant, Mr. Romney pounced. It was the first time that the former Massachusetts governor went after Mr. Gingrich — directly — with fervor. And he wouldn’t let go. The back and forth exchange, with Mr. Romney unloading one after another accusation, went on for several minutes. Mr. Romney accused Mr. Gingrich of being an influence peddler. He accused him of being paid by Freddie Mac. He said Mr. Gingrich had lobbied Republican lawmakers on health issues while getting paid by health care companies. He accused him of falsely claiming that he was paid to be a historian. And he did them all to Mr. Gingrich’s face.” (Michael D. Shear, “In Shift, Romney Pounds Directly And Relentlessly On Gingrich At Debate,” The New York Times, 1/23/12)
Associated Press Headline: “Romney: Gingrich Didn’t Earn Millions As Historian” (“Romney: Gingrich Didn’t Earn Millions As Historian,” Associated Press, 1/23/12)
· Associated Press: “Romney says that companies don’t spend that much money for history lessons and that Gingrich’s time since leaving office has been spent trading on his connections.” (“Romney: Gingrich Didn’t Earn Millions As Historian,” Associated Press, 1/23/12)
Associated Press: “FACT CHECK: Gingrich Flubs History In GOP Debate” (Calvin Woodward, “FACT CHECK: Gingrich Flubs History In GOP Debate,” Associated Press, 1/23/12)
· Associated Press: “Newt Gingrich…flubbed his own history in Congress on Monday night when he claimed the nation ran four consecutive budget surpluses during his time as House speaker.” (Calvin Woodward, “FACT CHECK: Gingrich Flubs History In GOP Debate,” Associated Press, 1/23/12)
Los Angeles Times: “GOP Debate: Aggressive Romney Calls Gingrich An ‘Influence Peddler’” (Michael Memoli, “GOP Debate: Aggressive Romney Calls Gingrich An ‘Influence Peddler’,” Los Angeles Times, 1/23/12)
· Los Angeles Times: “When Gingrich first won a seat in Congress, Romney said he had begun his own career in the private sector. As Gingrich left the House to become ‘an influence peddler,’ Romney said he was running the Olympic Games and beginning ‘a very successful turnaround’ in Massachusetts. And, as Romney said he was ‘fighting cap and trade’ and supporting Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to overhaul Medicare, Gingrich was ‘sitting down with Nancy Pelosi on a sofa’ and accusing Ryan of ‘right-wing social engineering.’” (Michael Memoli, “GOP Debate: Aggressive Romney Calls Gingrich An ‘Influence Peddler’,” Los Angeles Times, 1/23/12)
The New York Times Headline: “Gingrich Releases a Freddie Mac Contract With Few Details” (Trip Gabriel And Mike McIntire, “Gingrich Releases a Freddie Mac Contract With Few Details,” The New York Times, 1/23/12)
· The New York Times: “Newt Gingrich Released A Contract That Is Mostly Legal Boilerplate, And Contains No Details About The Advice He Gave…” (Trip Gabriel And Mike McIntire, “Gingrich Releases a Freddie Mac Contract With Few Details,” The New York Times, 1/23/12)
The New York Times Headline: “Romney’s Relentless Assault” (Michael Shear, “Romney’s Relentless Assault,” The New York Times, 1/23/12)
· The New York Times: “Mr. Romney Accused Mr. Gingrich Of Being An Influence Peddler. He Accused Him Of Being Paid By Freddie Mac. He Said Mr. Gingrich Had Lobbied Republican Lawmakers On Health Issues While Getting Paid By Health Care Companies. He Accused Him Of Falsely Claiming That He Was Paid To Be A Historian.” (Michael Shear, “Romney’s Relentless Assault,” The New York Times, 1/23/12)
· Politico: “Gingrich – adamant that he wasn’t a lobbyist as he explained why he only released one year of his Freddie Mac contract, which dated back to 1999 (he uttered something about going through a confidentiality process) – volunteered that at his firm they’d brought in a ‘lobbying expert’ to explain to his team what qualified as lobbying and what didn’t. … But why one would hire a ‘lobbying expert’ other than to explain to staff how to walk up to the ‘bright line’ Gingrich described, but not legally cross it, was not clear.” (Maggie Haberman, “Newt’s Unforced Error,” Politico, 1/23/12)
Ron Paul Press Release Headline: “Newt: Lobbyist? Sure Looks Like It. Liar? Yes.” (Press Release, “Newt: Lobbyist? Sure Looks Like It. Liar? Yes.,” Ron Paul For President, 1/23/12)
Politico Headline: “Mitt Bombards Newt With ‘Disgrace,’ ‘Influence Peddler’” (Alexander Burns, “Mitt Bombards Newt With ‘Disgrace,’ ‘Influence Peddler’,” Politico, 1/23/12)
· Politico: “Mitt Romney came ready to fight. The former Massachusetts governor assailed Newt Gingrich from his very first comments in Monday’s debate in Tampa, saying that the presidential election is ‘about leadership’ and reminding voters that Gingrich ‘had to resign in disgrace’ from the House of representatives. … Gingrich’s response: benign neglect.” (Alexander Burns, “Mitt Bombards Newt With ‘Disgrace,’ ‘Influence Peddler’,” Politico, 1/23/12)
The Associated Press Headline: “Heated Charges, Counter-Charges In Florida Debate” (Steve Peoples, “Heated Charges, Counter-Charges In Florida Debate,” The Associated Press, 1/23/12)
· The Associated Press: “Republican presidential contenders Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich clashed repeatedly in heated, personal terms Monday night in a crackling campaign debate, the former Massachusetts governor tagging his rival as an “influence peddler” in Washington…” (Steve Peoples, “Heated Charges, Counter-Charges In Florida Debate,” The Associated Press, 1/23/12)
PolitiFact: “Newt Gingrich Repeats Claim That He Balanced The Federal Budget Four Times As Speaker” (Louis Jacobsen, “Newt Gingrich Repeats Claim That He Balanced The Federal Budget Four Times As Speaker,” PolitiFact, 1/23/12)
· PolitiFact: “PolitiFact.com Rating: False” (Louis Jacobsen, “Newt Gingrich Repeats Claim That He Balanced The Federal Budget Four Times As Speaker,” PolitiFact, 1/23/12)
Exit question: Will Newt’s long pause after one of Gov. Romney’s assertions hurt him?
Gov Tim Pawlenty and Florida Speaker Designate Will Weatherford (Photo Tampa Tribune/Chris Urso)
Today Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Florida Speaker Designate Will Weatherford held a hard-hitting conference call stripping Newt Gingrich of his I-wasn’t-a-Freddie-Mac-lobbyist disguise.
GOV. TIM PAWLENTY: “NEWT GINGRICH AS A POTENTIAL NOMINEE FOR PRESIDENT: REALLY? I MEAN REALLY?”
“His influence-peddling with respect to Freddie Mac to Congress, that needs to be revealed. And so he called upon Governor Romney to be transparent, well Speaker Gingrich needs to be transparent on this issue and many others. And the notion that he was paid $1.7 million as a historian for Freddie Mac is just B.S., it’s just nonsense. And so he needs to reveal, and his firm needs to reveal, that contract. He needs to go through in detail what positions and advice he gave Freddie Mac, how they responded to that. And then also what advocacy, if any, that he undertook with respect to these issues with the United States Congress.”
– Gov. Tim Pawlenty
AUDIO: Pawlenty and Weatherford: Gingrich’s “Historian” Work for Freddie
Transcript of “Definitely Not A Lobbyist” conference call:
OPERATOR: “Ms. Gail Gitcho, you may now begin.”
GAIL GITCHO, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: “Thanks Claire and thanks everyone for joining today. I have Governor Tim Pawlenty on the line and also Florida Speaker Designate Will Weatherford, and they’re going to talk about Speaker Gingrich’s record and his work for Freddie Mac. And I’ll turn it over to Governor Pawlenty and then Mr. Weatherford and then we’ll take some questions and wrap up. So Governor Pawlenty, go ahead.”
GOV. TIM PAWLENTY: “Great, thank you Gail. Good morning everyone, thanks for being on the call this morning. We’re going to talk this morning about Speaker Gingrich’s record in a couple of key areas. One, as Speaker and the other as his post-Speaker role as advocate and lobbyist and influence-peddler in Washington DC. And I think for Republicans and conservatives all across this country, a question is going to have to be as they consider Newt Gingrich as a potential nominee for president: really? I mean really? This is somebody who has had so many incredibly unfortunate and questionable activities while he was speaker, post-speaker, that he is not somebody that I think can carry the banner for the Republican Party and the conservative movement forward as the nominee or as a future president. Let me give you just a couple of example and then I’ll turn it over to Speaker-Designate Weatherford for his comments. If you’re going to be president of the United States, people have to understand your full record. They have to see it in user-friendly and transparent ways. Newt Gingrich has represented hundreds of clients and interest groups in Washington, DC since he left the speakership. We have very little insight and transparency as to what exactly he did for many for those clients, in many cases, for huge sums of money. To say that he wasn’t a lobbyist is an incredible hair-splitting. He’s been an advocate to the Congress trying to push influence in Washington, DC. In the case of Freddie Mac, he was lobbying Republican members or advocating with Republican members against Republican interests on one of the most difficult and unfortunate behaviors by the federal government in modern history, and that is their activities in the housing market. If you go down to Florida where the primary is going to occur shortly, one of the most devastating blows to the Florida economy in recent years of course has been the housing market. And on of the principle culprits in the demise of the housing market was the role of Congress and their government sponsored entities of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and their role in the housing market. And now you have a candidate for the President of the United States, Newt Gingrich, who was paid $1.7 million by Freddie Mac and we don’t have insight or transparency as to what he actually did, what positions he took, what advice that he gave. His influence-peddling with respect to Freddie Mac to Congress, that needs to be revealed. And so he called upon Governor Romney to be transparent, well Speaker Gingrich needs to be transparent on this issue and many others. And the notion that he was paid $1.7 million as a historian for Freddie Mac is just B.S., it’s just nonsense. And so he needs to reveal, and his firm needs to reveal, that contract. He needs to go through in detail what positions and advice he gave Freddie Mac, how they responded to that. And then also what advocacy, if any, that he undertook with respect to these issues with the United States Congress. And I think voters deserve to see all of that from Newt and more.
And then beyond that, he has a whole list of other clients that he should release all of the groups that have paid him for all of the reasons, over all of the years for lobbying and for advocacy, for issue work, for strategic development, release it. We should have a chance to know who he represented and for what purposes and at what price.
Governor Mitt Romney has turned the tables on Newt Gingrich:
TAMPA – A combative Mitt Romney on Monday broadened his call for Newt Gingrich to release records from his work as a consultant, speculating that those documents and records from the ethics investigation that led Gingrich to resign from the House of Representatives could show “potentially wrongful activity of some kind.”
“We could see an October surprise a day from Newt Gingrich,” Romney told reporters at a media availability here. “And so let’s see the records from the ethics investigation, let’s see what they show. Let’s see who his clients were at the time he was lobbying Republican congressmen for Medicare Part D.
“Was he working or were his entities working with any health-care companies that could’ve benefited from that? That could represent not just evidence of lobbying but potentially wrongful activity of some kind.”
“He said in a debate, actually, that people who profited from the failed model of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae ought to give back their money,” Romney said. “Well, the speaker made $1.7 million in his enterprises from providing services to Freddie Mac. He ought to give it back.”
Here’s what Gingrich claims:
Gingrich repeatedly has said that he never lobbied lawmakers on behalf of Freddie Mac and health-care companies, saying he was paid for his services as a consultant and historian.
“I was not a lobbyist, I was never a lobbyist, I never did any lobbying. Don’t try to mix these things up. That fact is I was an adviser strategically,” he said Sunday on “Meet the Press.”
Earlier today Governor Tim Pawlenty and Florida House of Reps Speaker Designate Will Weatherford held a press conference call on Gingrich’s work as a “historian” for Freddie Mac. Pawlenty sums it up: “The notion that he was paid $1.7 million as a historian for Freddie Mac is just B.S. Newt Gingrich has represented hundreds of clients and interest groups in Washington, D.C., since he left the speakership. To say that he wasn’t a lobbyist is incredible hair-splitting.”
Romney hit Gingrich on his “highly eratic” style of leading:
He noted that Gingrich voted in favor of establishing the Department of Education, yet now says the department should be eliminated and its authority sent to the states. And Romney said Gingrich is “opposed vehemently” to the Massachusetts health-care system “and yet just a couple of years ago wrote about what a superb system it was.”
“He’s gone from pillar to post almost like a pinball machine, from item to item in a way which is highly erratic and does not suggest a stable, thoughtful course which is normally associated with leadership,” Romney said.
Pinball Policy Newt…
Romney speaking to the press in FL:
“By the way, saying that Newt Gingrich is a lobbyist is just a matter of fact. He indicates that he doesn’t fall within the narrow definition of lobbyists that he might have in mind. But if you’re working for a company, getting paid for a company through one of your many entities and then you’re speaking with Congressmen in a way that would help that company, that’s lobbying. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.” ~ Mitt Romney
Romney’s new Florida radio ad features FL Atty Gen Pam Bondi:
Nobody believes that Newt Gingrich was ever serious about a run for the presidency. So why did he enter the race you ask? Think about it. The man loves the limelight. It is all about Newt. Have we ever seen any man on the world stage, in any era, with such an insatiable love of self? Is there any person even close in comparison to Mr. Gingrich in self absorption?
Photo Credit: Drudge Report
One man comes to mind: Hugo Chavez. I insert that name here because the man’s ego and self-love is enormous, but even Chavez does not compare with Gingrich. As dangerous as Chavez is, hobnobbing with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, he is not as dangerous as Newt Gingrich.
The world knows Chavez as a corrupt dictator (non-leader); a dictator of a third world country — Gingrich would have the world believe his “core” is now different; that character is not important. Chavez is a known entity. Gingrich has the world fooled; to this point — today. Gingrich was literally kicked out of the Speakership by those he was “leading!” And hit with a huge fine! As Speaker, 84 ethics violations were filed against him. He was kicked out of the House leadership with a vote of 395 to 28! Mr. Gingrich is seeking power of the greatest nation on Earth.
Try to imagine what would be written in the elementary school history books about all the “firsts” that a Gingrich presidency would usher in. Need I list them all? Just think about all the character lapses in marriage, numerous unethical decisions, the many times he has said, “Yeah, that was a mistake” (about 10 times in the last three months alone), etc.
Did you hear what Gingrich said Saturday night during his speech? He said something like, “You know, it is not my ability to debate that brought this win; it is my ability to articulate the values Americans want to see in their President . . . “ He said that! Gingrich actually believes that of himself! (have I ever mentioned arrogance in reference to this person?)
What does he tell us? “Forget all that stuff in my past, “I have matured. I am 68 years old. I am a grandfather now. I sought redemption . . . ” “I”, “me”, “I”, “I”, “I” — What? I remember maturing from age 15 to 25. Gingrich tells us he is still maturing as he pushes 70 years old?! You know what that is code for? They are the words of a two-timer — a person who is used to wanting his cake and eating it too. Are they not? Have you ever compared the number of self-described pronouns used by Gingrich vs. Governor Romney in any of the debates? There are too many to count.
Gingrich hates the “elite media” right? He said so with conviction by yelling at John King at the debate. He has everybody fooled on this front too. Consider this from MailOnline, speaking for the press:
Gingrich loves the press. In some respects we are, as John McCain famously noted, his “base”. He craves the media. I’ve never seen a man so happy as Gingrich was when he ambled into the spin room in Myrtle Beach last Monday night and about 200 of us swarmed around him hanging on his every word.
Romney would have rather been anywhere else in the world than that in the middle of that heaving, sweaty scrum. But Newt was in pure heaven. He loves the game.
[...] At the end of the Charleston debate, Gingrich warmly thanked CNN and afterwards he spoke cordially with King.
In South Carolina, it was an open secret that the press were rooting for Gingrich, not out of bias or any belief that he would be a weaker candidate against Obama but simply because the press wants a good story and a knock-down, drag-out battle for the GOP nomination to cover.
Let’s face it, Gingrich loves the “destructive, vicious, negative” news media. He knows how to play the game. And the press loves him for it.
Gotta love how Governor Romney is peeling away layers of the gloves in Florida. The world has not yet seen even a glimpse of Mr. Gingrich’s sullied, hidden career. Well, we are about to find out a lot more than we ever thought existed about Mr. Gingrich. Frankly, I was surprised that more than a handful of people voted for the guy. But I think it is because of what Ann Coulter said yesterday; that voters don’t think more than “three seconds” about the man’s past.
Jayde’s great article below refers to the reporting of Reid Epstein of Politico. In my opinion, Governor Romney was generous in his reference to Gingrich by using the term “leader” in any form:
“Speaker Gingrich has also been a leader,” the former Massachusetts governor said. “He was a leader for four years as speaker of the House. And at the end of four years, it was proven that he was a failed leader and he had to resign in disgrace. I don’t know whether you knew that, he actually resigned after four years, in disgrace.”
It is only my opinion, but based on what I have learned about Gingrich’s “leadership”, his style is more like that of a dictator. He has the reputation of giving his word to one person on a specific direction and then taking a wholly different tack without blinking an eye. A true leader is above reproach and does not exhibit any ethical lapses.
Gingrich would have us believe these major character flaws were “mistakes” of his past. They are not mistakes at all. They are actions which serve as spotlights on major core character weaknesses. A true leader is honored by those whom he leads. A true leader puts the team he leads before self and deflects credit to those members of the team that follow his lead. A true leader knows how to execute (Gingrich is not an “execute”ive). Gingrich has always struggled to keep a team in place. Why is that?
Consider the hundreds of sincere testimonials that have been published from people that have been “led” by Mitt Romney throughout his career. How do those compare to what people say about Gingrich when he has had power? Is it possible to find any testimonials in support of Gingrich that even compare? Are there any? I have yet to hear of any or read any of them.
There are those around Hugo Chavez that would like to kick him out of office like the House did with Gingrich, but Chavez has the power to rule with an iron fist to keep them from the insurrection.
Standing in front of a home-building supply business yesterday, Governor Romney kicked off his Florida campaign. And, he’s telling it like it is…
Mitt Romney: Newt Gingrich is a ‘failed leader,’ ‘disgrace’ Politico
Reid J. Epstein – Jan 22, 2012
ORMOND BEACH, Fla. – Mitt Romney landed here Sunday with a simple message: Newt Gingrich is a failure and a fraud. And a disgrace. And a hapless showman.
Standing under a brilliant orange Florida sunset, Romney delivered his longest sustained critique of the South Carolina primary winner to date – ticking through a list as if he were reading off Gingrich’s Wikipedia page, and undercutting each item as he got to it.
“Speaker Gingrich has also been a leader,” the former Massachusetts governor said. “He was a leader for four years as speaker of the House. And at the end of four years, it was proven that he was a failed leader and he had to resign in disgrace. I don’t know whether you knew that, he actually resigned after four years, in disgrace.”
Romney continued: “He was investigated over an ethics panel and had to make a payment associated with that and then his fellow Republicans, 88 percent of his Republicans voted to reprimand Speaker Gingrich. He has not had a record of successful leadership.”
Then Romney got into Gingrich’s post-congressional career.
“Over the last 15 years since he left the House, he talks about great bold movements and ideas,” he told the crowd of several hundred people gathered at a building materials company here. “Well, what’s he been doing for 15 years? He’s been working as a lobbyist, yeah, he’s been working as a lobbyist and selling influence around Washington.”
Epstein then writes that Romney then tore into Gingrich and his role at Freddie Mac and Florida’s real estate crash. Elaborating on Newt’s bombastic, bellowing stage presence, The Gov went straight to the heart of the election with this zinger:
“We’re not choosing a talk show host, all right? We’re choosing a leader, we’re choosing the person who should be the leader of the free world,” Romney said.
(emphasis added with relish) Read the entire article and leave pro-Romney comments here.
It’s high time Gov Romney revved it up! He’s got to. Get the truth out there and take no prisoners. Voters want passion. I’m thrilled.
And, regarding Gingrich’s pious baloney debate performance on Saturday night, leave it to Newt to get sanctimonious about cheating on two wives.
● What’s Romney up to today?
8:00 AM Roundtable on housing issues
Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk Riverview Room, 200 North Ashley Drive, Tampa, Fla.
9:00 PM Debate hosted by St. Petersburg Times and NBC
4202 East Fowler Ave.,Tampa, Fla. Mitt Romney
Let ‘er rip tonight, Gov!
► Jayde Wyatt
~UPDATE from Ross
Glenn Beck has been taking Newt to task for quite some time and the following video is just the latest example. (more…)