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Crony Newt (Will voters overlook his Freddie Mac payments?)
National Review ^ | 12/13/2011 | Katrina Trinko

Posted on 12/13/2011 11:41:04 AM PST by SeekAndFind

As the early primaries draw near, Newt Gingrich’s Achilles’ heel could be the millions he was paid by Freddie Mac.

Yesterday morning, top rival Mitt Romney called on Gingrich to return the money during a Fox News appearance. For Gingrich, Romney’s request was merely the latest in series of blows since Bloomberg first reported the payments, estimated at $1.6–$1.8 million, in mid-November.

“It’s a perfect argument against Gingrich because it ties him to the sleazy practices of the beltway when he is trying to run as an outsider,” observes Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.

During Saturday night’s debate, Ron Paul hammered Gingrich on the issue, saying that Gingrich had “received a lot of money from Freddie Mac.”

“Freddie Mac [was] bailed out by the taxpayers,” Paul continued. “So in a way, Newt, I think you probably got some of our taxpayers’ money.”

Paul isn’t simply spreading that meme in debates. He’s also pushing the message in two attack videos his campaign has released online — both of which have scored links on the Drudge Report. The two versions of the first video — one is ad-length, the other longer — have together been viewed over 1 million times. On an appearance on Meet the Press on Sunday, Paul commented that he wouldn’t “have taken their money just for the fact that I think it’s an immoral thing.”

Bachmann, too, has harshly criticized Gingrich for “shilling” for Freddie Mac. “Whether former speaker Gingrich made $300,000 or whether he made $2 million, the point is that he took money to influence senior Republicans to be favorable toward Fannie and Freddie,” Bachmann said in November.

“Speaker Gingrich has been part of the Washington excesses and crony capitalism that Governor Huntsman wants to eliminate,” e-mailed Huntsman spokesman Tim Miller. Neither Rick Perry’s campaign nor Rick Santorum’s responded to a request for comment on whether their candidates agreed that Gingrich should return the money.

Sabato is dubious that the Freddie Mac association will harm Gingrich unless several of the candidates pick up the theme and run with it. “It might work if it becomes a standard refrain among the other candidates,” he says. “Let’s face it: It is sleazy. Plus, the explanation:‘I was a historian, I wasn’t a lobbyist’? There’s no one who buys that.”

Right now, in early-primary states, the on-the-ground sense is that Freddie Mac charges aren’t influencing how voters view Gingrich. “The Freddie Mac profits have thus far not had an impact on Newt Gingrich,” says Tim Albrecht, communications director for Iowa governor Terry Branstad. “Since the news came out, he has continued to rise in the polls. I think the complexity of the issue makes it difficult to explain and makes it a difficult punch to land.”

Veteran New Hampshire strategist Mike Dennehy is similarly skeptical, saying that it “depends on how the issue is characterized and framed.”

“I think it basically goes in one ear — and a voter says ‘Wow, that’s a lot of money, he’s making a lot of money’ — and then it goes out the other ear,” Dennehy observes. “It’s a sophisticated issue. So, most voters aren’t going to be able to connect the dots between his consulting fee and the scandal surrounding Freddie Mac.”

But while voters may be unmoved by Gingrich’s Freddie connection, campaigns could use it as a way to highlight Gingrich’s seeming tendency “to contain multitudes,” as it were. After all, Gingrich hasn’t been quiet about those who allowed the Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae scandal to happen. In an October debate, he insinuated that former Democratic senator Chris Dodd and Democratic congressman Barney Frank should go to jail for their role in the debacle.

As for Gingrich’s rivals, the Freddie Mac reminders could serve yet another purpose: getting Gingrich to lose his cool.

The ex-speaker, who had pledged last week to stay “positive” on the campaign trail, wasted little time in responding to Romney’s request that he return the Freddie Mac money.

“If Governor Romney would like to give back all the money he’s earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years at Bain, then I would be glad to then listen to him,” Gingrich told reporters. “And I will bet you $10, not $10,000, that he won’t take the offer.”


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: crony; freddiemac; gingrich; nationalreview; nationalrino; newt; newtgingrich; nr4romney

1 posted on 12/13/2011 11:41:09 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Oh please!....after the corrupt commmunity organizer and all our tax money to phony green technology?


2 posted on 12/13/2011 11:44:26 AM PST by AngelesCrestHighway
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To: SeekAndFind
Keep in mind that National Review backed Romney in 2008.
3 posted on 12/13/2011 11:44:30 AM PST by eater-of-toast ("It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones." --Calvin Coolidge)
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To: eater-of-toast

I figured this article had a reason behind it.

Newt came by that money the old fashioned way - he earned it!


4 posted on 12/13/2011 11:47:30 AM PST by SatinDoll (NO FOREIGN NATIONALS AS U.S.A. PRESIDENT)
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To: SeekAndFind
IIRC Freddie Mac did not take the advice they paid Newt to give.

If they had done so perhaps their losses would have been much less.

5 posted on 12/13/2011 11:47:35 AM PST by Churchillspirit
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To: SeekAndFind

baloney sandwich argument with nothing in it.

Ain’t nothing perfect about the argument against Newt.

He did this as a private citizen but hey, if Mutt Romney would like a little perspective on his record privately and publicly, well.....


6 posted on 12/13/2011 11:47:46 AM PST by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously, you won't live through it anyway)
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To: SeekAndFind
“If Governor Romney would like to give back all the money he’s earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years at Bain, then I would be glad to then listen to him,”

The anti Capitalist nature of this comment really bothers me. Why a Conservative would reflexively go with this argument about a private enterprise is beyond me. Gingrich is the one who originally called for all people to return their money from Fannie and Freddie in '08.

7 posted on 12/13/2011 11:50:33 AM PST by Lazlo in PA (Now living in a newly minted Red State.)
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To: SeekAndFind
"Will voters opverlook Freddie Mac payments"

To get rid of Romney first, then Obama, YES ! We can take another step and fire Gingrich NEXT election....See how this works ?

8 posted on 12/13/2011 11:52:29 AM PST by SENTINEL (Romney is to Conservatism what Mormonism is to Christianity.)
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To: SeekAndFind
“Freddie Mac [was] bailed out by the taxpayers,” Paul continued. “So in a way, Newt, I think you probably got some of our taxpayers’ money.”

Well, actually Ron, since Newt was already done with this stint before the bailout occurred, I'd say, no, he didn't.

9 posted on 12/13/2011 12:02:39 PM PST by RockinRight (If you're waiting to drink until you find pure water, you're going to die of dehydration.)
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To: SeekAndFind

During the debate the other night, abc tried to keep Michele Bachmann off camera s much as possible, but i still think she could beat all three. (Newt, Mitt, and Zero.)


10 posted on 12/13/2011 12:11:15 PM PST by chainsaw (Sarah Palin would be my first choice. .)
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To: SatinDoll

Does anyone know the contract specifics between Gingrich and Freddie Mac, particularly pertaining to confidentiality and non-compete clauses? Is Gingrich contractually bound to silence regarding Freddie Mac financial and operations issues?


11 posted on 12/13/2011 12:13:30 PM PST by NautiNurse
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To: SeekAndFind

More GOPorn.


12 posted on 12/13/2011 12:14:34 PM PST by Mike Darancette (Either Obama can beat any GOP candidate or no GOP candidate.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Nice hit piece from the National Review. I am really enjoying how Republicans are beating each other. /s

I suppose there is so little in the news to beat Obama over the head. The National Review would serve itself better if it did more scholarly articles on the candidates’ policy. The candidates would serve the party and the eventual nominee better if they drew stark contrasts to Obama every time he or someone in the administration screws up. I believe that happens daily.

When the MSM has a choice between the candidates going after each other or Obama, they will chose to report only the part of going after each other. The going after each other needs to stop so that Obama is attacked.

13 posted on 12/13/2011 12:36:56 PM PST by ConservativeInPA (Maxine, I'll see you there. I'm not changing my ways.)
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To: NautiNurse

I remember reading that he worked for them six years as a contract consultant on two seperate contracts. He earned between $1.6 to $1.8 million, and as I recall, that came to less than $300,000 in pay per year, which in not extraordinary. The Democrats running Freddie Mac didn’t like his advice, so the contract was not renewed.

Newt Gingrich has publicly stated - on the Sean Hannity show - that there is a confidentiality clause in the contracts and so he cannot comment on what happened at Freddie Mac. Howerver, Newt Gingrich is now being badmouthed by the liberal Democrats at Freddie Mac: no surprise there! Libs are never deterred by laws or contracts.


14 posted on 12/13/2011 12:47:38 PM PST by SatinDoll (NO FOREIGN NATIONALS AS U.S.A. PRESIDENT)
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To: SeekAndFind

This is just another nothing burger.

Go Newt Go......


15 posted on 12/13/2011 12:55:05 PM PST by Gator113 (~Just livin' life, my way~.. Newt/Palin-West-2012."got a lot swirling around in my head.")
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To: Lazlo in PA
Gingrich is the one who originally called for all people to return their money from Fannie and Freddie in '08.

Wasn't he referring to campaign contributions?

16 posted on 12/13/2011 1:00:03 PM PST by maryz
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To: NautiNurse
Is Gingrich contractually bound to silence regarding Freddie Mac financial and operations issues?

There are confidentiality clauses in play. This was revealed at the very start when it came up. Newt's limited in what he can reveal.

17 posted on 12/13/2011 1:45:03 PM PST by newzjunkey (Republicans will find a way to reelect Obama and Speaker Pelosi.)
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To: Churchillspirit
IIRC Freddie Mac did not take the advice they paid Newt to give.

I'd like to see a cite to anyone involved with Freddie Mac saying this. IIRC, the top officials of Freddie Mac have stated Gingrich was lying about this, not that there would be any way to distinguish who was telling the truth among Freddie Mac officials and Gingrich.

18 posted on 12/13/2011 1:54:36 PM PST by Prokopton (.)
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To: Prokopton

I doubt his advice was given only verbally. Records must exist.


19 posted on 12/13/2011 2:45:03 PM PST by Churchillspirit
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To: SeekAndFind

Katrina Pinko


20 posted on 12/13/2011 2:51:43 PM PST by Josh Painter ("The only thing these 'investments' will get us is a bullet train to bankruptcy." - Palin)
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To: SeekAndFind

Larry Sabato is an idiot.


21 posted on 12/13/2011 3:19:14 PM PST by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose of a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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To: eater-of-toast
Keep in mind that National Review backed Romney in 2008.

Instead of McCain? And that's a problem for you?

22 posted on 12/13/2011 3:20:08 PM PST by BfloGuy (The final outcome of the credit expansion is general impoverishment.)
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To: SeekAndFind

What strategic advice did Newt give Freddie Mac for $1.6million?


23 posted on 12/13/2011 5:04:35 PM PST by MontaniSemperLiberi (Moutaineers are Always Free)
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To: Churchillspirit

What advice did Newt give?


24 posted on 12/13/2011 5:07:07 PM PST by MontaniSemperLiberi (Moutaineers are Always Free)
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To: MontaniSemperLiberi

I think it was something very basic like not giving loans to folks who could not repay them.


25 posted on 12/13/2011 5:42:07 PM PST by Churchillspirit
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To: Churchillspirit

“IIRC Freddie Mac did not take the advice they paid Newt to give.”

I’m sorry. Maybe my humor batteries need to be changed but do you know what advice Newt gave?


26 posted on 12/13/2011 7:10:25 PM PST by MontaniSemperLiberi (Moutaineers are Always Free)
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To: MontaniSemperLiberi

See #25.


27 posted on 12/14/2011 10:51:55 AM PST by Churchillspirit
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To: BfloGuy

NR didn’t have to endorse either.


28 posted on 12/14/2011 9:50:17 PM PST by eater-of-toast ("It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones." --Calvin Coolidge)
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