Skip to comments.Crony Newt (Will voters overlook his Freddie Mac payments?)
Posted on 12/13/2011 11:41:04 AM PST by SeekAndFind
As the early primaries draw near, Newt Gingrichs 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, Romneys 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.
Its 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 nights 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 isnt simply spreading that meme in debates. Hes 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 wouldnt have taken their money just for the fact that I think its 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 Perrys campaign nor Rick Santorums 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. Lets face it: It is sleazy. Plus, the explanation:I was a historian, I wasnt a lobbyist? Theres no one who buys that.
Right now, in early-primary states, the on-the-ground sense is that Freddie Mac charges arent 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, thats a lot of money, hes making a lot of money and then it goes out the other ear, Dennehy observes. Its a sophisticated issue. So, most voters arent 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 Gingrichs Freddie connection, campaigns could use it as a way to highlight Gingrichs seeming tendency to contain multitudes, as it were. After all, Gingrich hasnt 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 Gingrichs 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 Romneys request that he return the Freddie Mac money.
If Governor Romney would like to give back all the money hes 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 wont take the offer.
Oh please!....after the corrupt commmunity organizer and all our tax money to phony green technology?
I figured this article had a reason behind it.
Newt came by that money the old fashioned way - he earned it!
If they had done so perhaps their losses would have been much less.
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.....
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.
To get rid of Romney first, then Obama, YES ! We can take another step and fire Gingrich NEXT election....See how this works ?
Well, actually Ron, since Newt was already done with this stint before the bailout occurred, I'd say, no, he didn't.
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.)
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?
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.
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.
This is just another nothing burger.
Go Newt Go......
Wasn't he referring to campaign contributions?
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.
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.
I doubt his advice was given only verbally. Records must exist.
Larry Sabato is an idiot.
Instead of McCain? And that's a problem for you?
What strategic advice did Newt give Freddie Mac for $1.6million?
What advice did Newt give?
I think it was something very basic like not giving loans to folks who could not repay them.
“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?
NR didn’t have to endorse either.