Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign has gotten a $10 million boost thanks to cash from Las Vegas Sands gambling magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife, but Gingrich says he isn't necessarily buying into gaming. But it's not really clear what his position on gaming is.
"Well, let me say up front, at the risk of offending some of my friends who've been very helpful," Gingrich said, "I worry about the degree to which the poor are the most likely to end up spending a large percentage of their income gambling in the false hope that they can mathematically beat the system."
Gingrich, however, never said whether he supported or opposed casino gaming.
Gingrich was asked about the issue by evangelical activist John Stemberger, a Rick Santorum supporter, at the Orange County Liberty Counsel Forum in Winter Park. The issue is huge in Florida right now as the Legislature considers whether to expand casino-style gaming in Florida. The issue is being pushed by Genting and Adelson's company. Note: Adelson and his wife (not Las Vegas Sands) have contributed the $10 million that has helped Gingrich via the political committee Winning Our Future.
Gingrich, like Romney explaining his relationship with the PAC Restore Our Future, said he only knows about the Adelson money because of press accounts.
“I have read articles," Gingrich said. "I haven’t known anything technically because I’ve not been briefed because it’s illegal. But I’ve read articles and Sheldon Adelson has clearly, according to the articles, been very generous.”
Gingrich said he met Adelson nearly 20 years ago on Capitol Hill, where Adelson is a major player due in large part to his support of pro-Israel policies.
"Sheldon Adelson's passion in life is the survival of Israel. And he and I are in agreement that Iran is a deep and immediate threat, posing the risk of a second Holocaust with three or four nuclear weapons," Gingrich said.
"So Sheldon has said – to offset, by the way, Goldman Sachs, the big banks and everybody who’s been helping my opponent – he stepped in and said, 'look I really want somebody to be there who understands foreign policy, who understands national security,'" Gingrich said. "I’m happy to tell you my relationship with Sheldon is about a very specific public thing: I believe we should be strong enough to stop the Iranians and that Israel should e allowed to exist and I’m prepared to defend it."
--with Alex Leary