January 24th, 2012
06:00 PM ET
11 years ago

Gingrich offers explanation of Freddie Mac records

(CNN) - Newt Gingrich fended off criticism of his work with Freddie Mac Tuesday, the day after the firm he founded released a contract representing one year of work for the mortgage giant.

Gingrich specifically sought to clarify a remark he made at Monday's NBC News debate, when he said his firm hired a lobbying expert to guide them on lobbying rules.

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Gingrich said Monday, "I think it's pretty clear to say that I have never, ever gone and done any lobbying. In fact, we brought in an expert on lobbying law and trained all of our staff. And that expert is prepared to testify that he was brought in to say here is the bright line between what you can do as a citizen and what you do as a lobbyist."

Critics, including rival Mitt Romney's campaign, seized upon that remark, saying it was an indication of Gingrich's true intentions with Freddie Mac. In an interview with CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, Gingrich hit back.

"This is the kind of cynicism that leaves you in despair, okay? We want to make sure we were never lobbying, so we bring in somebody who's an expert to say this is what lobbying is, this is what you can do as a citizen," Gingrich said on CNN's "John King USA."

He added, "Now I would have thought that was a sign of being careful, that it was a sign of working looking ahead, it was a sign of doing the right thing."

Gingrich said his chief rival in the race for the 2012 GOP nomination, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, was knowingly spreading mistruths about Gingrich's record with Freddie Mac.

"I think governor Romney just doesn't get it," Gingrich said. "I also think he quite frankly doesn't care about the facts, and I think he was throwing words around that his consultants said sounded good in focus groups with no regard for whether or not they were true."

Gingrich also responded to the critique that his contract was signed with Freddie Mac's lobbying director. The name on the contract released Monday is Craig Thomas, the firm's vice president of public policy.

"They were asking my advice in public policy and he was asking my advice in public policy," Gingrich said. "Now again, I didn't actually care who signed the contract, I cared what I did and what I did was offer strategic advice bringing to bear both my knowledge as a historian and my knowledge as a former speaker of the House."

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Filed under: 2012 • TV-John King U.S.A.
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "I also think he quite frankly doesn't care about the facts, and I think he was throwing words around that his consultants said sounded good in focus groups with no regard for whether or not they were true."
    I actually agree with Newt on this point. This type of irresponsible speech has become the trademark of GOPers and their followers. Complete disregard for the truth. State and repeat, state and repeat until your unibrow base believes it to be the truth.

    January 24, 2012 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  2. Freedomlover

    Newt is slimy and slippery just like his name. He always seems to slither his way around his past discretions or his morals or should I say lack thereof

    January 24, 2012 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Isn't this the same Newt Gingrich who began impeachment proceedings against Pres. Clinton? Newt Gingrich had said something to the effect that, "someone who commits adultery is not fit to be POTUS." And. Gingrich said and did all of this while he was committing adultery himself. Now suddenly it is okay for an adulterer to be POTUS just because his name happens to be Newt Gingrich? Republican hypocrisy can always find new and original ways to soar to new heights.

    January 24, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  4. batjones

    What source material would Gingrich's firm need from members of Congress if the staff was only providing history? Why would you need to worry about a lobbying line of conflict if you are only providing historical analysis? The fact that Gingrich sought a lobbying consultant is an indication that his firm had already broached the lobbying line under previous contracts.

    January 24, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  5. unsub

    who cares! unless he buys some white paint and paints his house white, he will neva see the white house!

    January 24, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  6. Patriot Awesome

    Don't settle for the lesser of 2 evils!
    Gingrich / Cthulhu 2012!

    January 24, 2012 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  7. oldguy

    Mr. Gingrich is so slippery that it becomes slimey. If you look the picture accompanying this article you can see the devil in his eyes. What does it say about a candidate's morality, ethics and honesty, who is gluttonously overweight, deceptively combed-over, and carries on an affair while married? That's right: he is concealing the facts and cannot be trusted. Wake up evangelists. This is the devil in not-so-convincing disguise.

    January 24, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  8. Ron

    I'm sure Freddie Mac needed to understand the kind of "history" in which Newt Gingrich is a specialist.

    January 24, 2012 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  9. Jilli

    You say tomato, I say tomatoe. Gingrich was a paid influence peddler – same thing. Semantics don't change the reality.

    January 24, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  10. vic , nashville ,tn

    What about Romney investments in Freddie Mac

    January 24, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  11. Steve Moore Smithton, Mo.

    I will give Newt credit for one thing, he is the best I've ever seen at deflecting a question and turning it to benefit himself or his campaign. In all the debates, interviews, and Q&A sessions to date he has not directly answered a direct question yet. He always spins it as either a misguided attack on him, a misinterpreted choice of words, or the media trying to criticize him for no reason. His abiliity to not speak the truth yet sound credible is uncanny. Fooling the masses and never showing your true self has worked for him for 40 years and has given him the power and resources he now utilizes. Hate him, as I do, or love him, he is one of a kind and may well be the nominee before it's over. Politics 101 says the easiest way to lose an election is tell the truth and he certainly gets an A in that class.

    January 24, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  12. T'sah From Virginia

    @Steve Moore Smithton, Mo.

    You got it right!! You see it – I see it – too bad the RIGHT is BLIND and don't see it ONLY for the fact that they want to make President Obama a "one-term" president – And they don't even see why they want to do that!!!

    Obama 2012!!

    January 24, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |