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Romney stumps in Pompano Beach late Sunday night


Republican front-runner MItt Romney spoke to a packed house in Pompano Beach, with more than 400 people inside and about 150 outside because the room was over capacity.
It had all the trappings of a pep rally, with Romney on stage and an adoring crowd holding signs and cheering nearly everything he said.  
Joining him: wife, Ann, and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.
Romney's speech hit all his campaign points: more money for the military, less power for the federal government and repealing Obama's healthcare plan. 
He also said he worried Obama was pulled toward a "European welfare state."
He appealed to Floridians hurt in the housing market collapse, pledging to get the government out of the housing market. 
"People want someone who will say no to Freddie Mac" he said. 
He also managed to squeeze in a swipe at Gingrich, saying his time as speaker "did not work out so well."
"His record was one of failed leadership," he told the crowd. 



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Romney unloads on Newt
over debates, Freddie work

Mitt Romney slammed Newt Gingrich for his role working for federal housing agency Freddie Mac [ .... ]

"You know, [ Speaker Gingrich ] is now finding excuses everywhere he can. He’s on TV this morning going from station to station complaining about what he thinks are the reasons he had difficulty here in Florida. But you know we’ve got a president who has a lot of excuses, and the excuses are over, it’s time to produce."
[ .... ]

"... I know how bad housing is here, how tough its been. You know that one quarter of all the foreclosures in America are in Florida? And you know how much home values have gone down.

And one of the greatest contributors to the collapse of housing here and across the country was government, and the intrusion of government into the housing market and the fact that you have Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae guaranteeing mortgages in some cases to people who couldn’t possibly pay them back, that contributed to the kind of crisis you’ve seen here.

And at the time some people were standing up and saying we need to reform the system, Speaker Gingrich was being paid $1.6 million to stand up and do what he did, which is to say these programs should continue the way they are. These institutions are fine.

The people of Florida have had enough of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and government interference and its time to get back to free market principles."

"So Mr. Speaker, ... Your problem in Florida is that you worked for Freddie Mac at a time that Freddie Mac was not doing the right thing for the American people. And that you were selling influence in Washington at a time when we needed people to stand up for the truth in Washington."


Romney unloads on 'excuse-making' Newt
over debates, Freddie work

By MAGGIE HABERMAN 1/29/12 Politico.com
POLITICO's Reid Epstein reports:




COUP attempt against Gingrich

Newt did not take the REBELLION lying down.

Gingrich’s precipitous fall from power


I first met Newt Gingrich 17 years ago at a Destin, Fla., fundraiser held in my honor ....

If, as Shakespeare wrote, what’s past is prologue — and it often is —

then Gingrich’s political history is particularly relevant now.

It’s a history I know well because I was there.....

Three years into his speakership, the man who helped
draft the Contract With America began trying to undo
some of that document’s key provisions. ...

In April 1997, Gingrich ... was ready to be a kinder and gentler Republican
by negotiating away the very tax cuts that he had once called
“the crown jewels of the contract.”

Soon, conservatives were being pressured to vote for big spending appropriations bills.

In his final speech from the floor of Congress,
Newt Gingrich lashed out wildly at the same freshmen
who had made him speaker — mocking us as cannibals ...

It was the last time Newt would attack
the most conservative members of his caucus
from the lofty perch as speaker.

In 1997, ten of my fellow classmates had
led a coup attempt against Gingrich,
shutting down the House over the speaker’s efforts
to violate the Contract with America ....

Conservative stalwarts like Steve Largent, Tom Coburn
and Matt Salmon joined me and seven others
to demand a cut in spending and a promise to hold firm on tax cuts.

Newt did not take the rebellion lying down.
He immediately summoned the sergeant of arms
to drag the 11 rebels down to a Republican caucus meeting ...
where Newt lined us up in front of a packed room of seething House members ...
Gingrich then began screaming and demanded that the 11 of us account for our behavior.

As Steve Largent grabbed the microphone, ...
Steve spoke softly about how he signed a contract with the Seattle Seahawks ....
A few years later, the NFL Players Association went on strike. But Largent told the mob, who were now transfixed, that he crossed those picket lines because he signed a contract and gave his word. ....
For Steve, it was a matter of principle.

Turning to the Speaker, ... Largent said, “Newt, you were the one
who drafted the contract and then told us to sign it.
Now, you’re the one pressuring us to break it.

But Newt, if I wasn’t intimidated by the thought of 250 pound linebackers
who wanted to kill me every time I crossed the field,
why would I be intimidated by you?”

And with that, the speakership of Newt Gingrich was over.

A year later, he would be driven from power
and sent into a political wilderness
from which he emerged 14 years later on a Saturday night in South Carolina.

Gingrich’s precipitous fall from power was the result of arrogance, ...
a fatal tendency to flit from issue to issue — and even from core conviction
to core conviction — in the seeming belief that if ....


The Newt I know

By: Joe Scarborough 1-27-2012 POLITICO





Details unfold about
Gingrich’s Freddie Mac Role

Alana Goodman 1.24.2012


New details are trickling out about Newt Gingrich’s role at Freddie Mac, and the latest reports continue to contradict his claim that he objected to the mortgage giant’s business model while serving as an advisor.

Last November, Gingrich’s campaign said that "on numerous occasions in meetings with Freddie Mac, Speaker Gingrich advised that a business model that involved lending money to people with bad credit and no money down was unsustainable and a bubble, and that it was dangerous to buy securities made up of these mortgages."

But according to Politico, his activities weren’t just confined to advising and lobbying on behalf of Freddie Mac. He also rallied an audience of Freddie Mac political action committee donors in 2007:

New details from Newt Gingrich’s $35,000-a-year [ month ] contract 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.

If Gingich was supposedly the internal critic of Freddie Mac, what was he doing giving speeches to the group’s PAC donors?

The story doesn’t add up. Of course it’s possible that Gingrich brought up his concerns at some meetings, but he gave no public indication that he was trying to reform the group at the time.

Everything that’s been released has shown the opposite – him praising Freddie Mac’s business model and trying to boost the group’s reputation.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported more details about the lobbying expert who Gingrich says advised him back in 2000:

"He hired me to give him advice on state and federal lobbying requirements," [lobbying expert] Thomas Susman said.

"The subject matter," he added, "was simply to advise him and his associates in his business

what the lobbying laws were because he did not want to have to cross the line to register as a lobbyist in any of those jurisdictions."

Which sounds like confirmation that
Gingrich hired an expert to avoid crossing the 20 percent threshold that would require him to officially register as a lobbyist.

The drip-drip-drip will likely keep this issue in the news for awhile, but it remains to be seen if Romney can make the controversy stick to Gingrich.


Details unfold about
Gingrich’s Freddie Mac Role

Alana Goodman 1.24.2012




Gingrich hired an expert to avoid crossing
the 20 percent threshold that would require him to officially register as a lobbyist.




Newt wipes out

By Jennifer Rubin 1/26/2012


Newt Gingrich got slammed in the debate by a remarkably invigorated Mitt Romney, an impressive Rick Santorum and CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, who really wouldn’t let him get away with much.

Romney was clearly on his game, ready to swat down Gingrich. He vigorously defended his success in business and skewered Gingrich on his carping about his capital gains. He tied Gingrich to Freddie Mac and wouldn’t let go, making it clear that Gingrich was a cheerleader for the entity that contributed mightily to the financial crisis. When Gingrich accused him of investing in Freddie, Romney pointed out that they both had investments in mutual funds which held Freddie bonds. On Gingrich’s loony moon colony, he was restrained but emphatic that this was fiscally irreponsible. He gave a very succinct and smart answer on the need to equalize the tax treatment for individually-purchased and employer-provided health care insurance. When it came to talking about his wife he lovingly explained his wife Ann’s fight against MS and cancer. This was a better, sharper, more aggressive candidate than we have seen to date. He very likely sealed a victory for himself in Florida, where he is already leading.

In the lengthy opening segment on immigration he stood firm on his self-deportation stance, on which Rick Santorum backed him up. He did get slightly tangled up by an ad citing Gignrich for calling Spanish the language of the “ghetto,” saying he didn’t know if it was his ad. When Blitzer later confirmed that it was, however, Romney cornered Gingrich, whose defense boiled down to: I didn’t say the word “Spanish.” The Romney team quickly put out its research form Politifact showing that Romney’s ad was “mostly true.” More impressively, he faced down Gingrich for calling him anti-immigrant in a radio ad, reminding the audience that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) had rebuked Gingrich and forced the former Speaker to take down the ad. For once, Gingrich looked dumbfounded.

The star of the show, however, may have been Rick Santorum, who put front and center the question Right Turn has been asking: Why in the world is the conservative base favoring Gingrich over this guy? He gave informed and forceful answers on Cuba, Central America and Puerto Rico. He took a baseball bat to both Romney and Gingrich on their support for the individual mandate, making the point that conservatives shouldn’t “give away” this issue. He also, with some verve, ridiculed the moon colony. When Gingrich went on and on Santorum had a priceless look — puzzlement mixed with disdain. (The thought bubble above his head would have read: “Did I tell you he was a crackpot, or what?”)

He was eloquent in his defense of the Constitution as the document to preserve the individual rights set forth in the Declaration. He seemed presidential (at one point calling for a halt to the back-and-forth on Romney’s and Gingrich’s personal finances) and infinitely more sober than Gingrich. His closing speech on his appeal to the blue-collar voters the GOP needs to win in November.

Gingrich had a perfectly dreadful night, appearing angry and then sheepish, nasty and then defensive. He didn’t have well-prepared defenses on his time with Freddie or strong attacks on Romney’s earnings. He played to type in defending his fantastical idea for a space colony. And he sniped at conservatives who have forward to question whether he was all that close to Reagan, calling it part of an organized effort by Romney. For starters, that’s called a “campaign,” and if he can’t handle Romney he’ll be no match for Obama; Moreover, I’d be surprised if the Romney camp had a hand in every statement and article that criticized him over the last week or so. (They aren’t that good.) Conservatives have had enough of him, and have come forward out of fear he might actually get the nomination. After tonight they have less to fear. Not only did Romney have the best debate of the primary season, but Santorum’s strong showing should bleed votes away from Gingrich as well.

Finally, Wolf Blitzer did a commendable job, rebuffing Gingrich’s attempt to duck away from a question on his anti-capital gains language. He kept the proceedings lively and substantive.

Winners: Romney and Santorum

Loser: Gingrich




Gingrich’s D.C. record: His Achilles’ heel?

By Jennifer Rubin 01/24/2012

Just before the debate, Newt Gingrich released one contract with Freddie Mac for one of his years as an “historian,” as he likes to put it. But the contract reflects that he reported to the head lobbyist, in fact a registered lobbyist, Craig Thomas. Moreover, the contract is remarkably vague as to what he actually did for Freddie. ( The contract specifies that he was supposed to invoice Freddie with a description of services, but we haven’t seen any of those. They would be illuminating.) The contract says that he should provide services of the quality of other firms providing comparable service in Washington, D.C. (Since there are no “historian” firms, one can imagine the reference is to other K Street influence peddlers.)

What is most telling is what is not provided — contracts for other years of service, invoices or other documents that would reflect what he really did, and any support for the tale that his value was as an “historian.”

No wonder Mitt Romney pounced both in the debate and in a new ad. In the debate he repeatedly made the point that Gingrich got paid for singing Freddie’s tune while Floridians and other Americans got pummeled in the housing crisis. His ad piles on with references to his speakership as well:

Notice the quick segment at the end in which Gingrich refers to future plans with Marianne. That would be the wife on whom he was cheating with his current wife, Callista.

In the debate last night, Gingrich tried out a few excuses. He attempted to make his departure from the speakership seem voluntary. But Romney and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) had him dead to rites last night; he was sanctioned for ethics violations and his colleagues did show him the door. He then tried exaggerating his own achievements during his four years as speaker, claiming credit for creating 11 million jobs. (He has not attempted to explain the government shutdown fiasco, for which he was directly responsible.)

On Freddie he again trotted out the excuse that Freddie and Fannie Mae are like “telephone cooperatives, rural electric cooperatives, federal credit unions.” This is poppycock, as Politifact points out:

We find no support for that and do find major differences in how they are created and operate compared with GSEs. Congress created Freddie Mac, as it does every GSE, by passing a specific law to bring it into being. Freddie Mac has stockholders and a direct line of credit with the U.S. Treasury. The term, Government Sponsored Enterprise, applies only to a handful of financial entities listed in the federal budget.

None of those characteristics apply to credit unions and electric cooperatives. Once again, we rate Gingrich’s statement Pants On Fire.

It remains to be seen how successfully both Romney and Rick Santorum will be in painting Gingrich as an ethically challenged creature of Washington. They certainly have a lot of material to work with. Moreover, when Gingrich tries to wiggle out of his own record he shows his worst qualities — self-aggrandizing ( he created 11 million jobs) delusional (a “historian” for Freddie) and dishonest (Freddie’s just like a credit union!). Rather than running ads with the accusations, perhaps Gingrich’s opponents should run ones with his excuses; they are as revealing and damning as anything others have said about him.


By Jennifer Rubin



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