Romney's Campaign Demands Gingrich Release Freddie Mac Contract
In a press conference call held on Monday morning, representatives from Mitt Romney's presidential campaign called for transparency from Newt Gingrich and demanded that he release his consulting contract as a "historian" for Freddie Mac.
According to former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, voters need to know the details of Gingrich's alleged $ 1.7 million contract to help them make an informed decision about who to support in the presidential race.
Pawlenty also used the charges that Gingrich was a lobbyist for Freddie Mac to poke holes in Gingrich's image as an "outsider" who would bring change to the government establishment that has been seen as dysfunctional and frustrating to many Americans.
The former governor said that Gingrich was an insider, an "influence-peddler" who was lobbying Republican members against Republican interests, painting Romney as the true outsider.
Pawlenty also voiced larger concerns about Gingrich as a presidential nominee, saying that it would be "handing the election to Obama" and that Republicans need to nominate someone "who's best positioned and has the best skills to defeat Obama."
A 29-minute film made by a Gingrich-supporting Super-PAC portrayed Romney as a "corporate raider" recently came under fire for inaccuracies, using interviews with workers who were laid off in Bain's leveraged buyouts of companies. An ominous voice-over narrates how local businesses and lives were wrecked "when Mitt Romney came to town."
The Florida House of Representatives Will Weatherford said, in reference to the current dismal housing market, that Freddie Mac had brought "personal pain" to Florida, the next stop for the GOP primaries.
Weatherford said he does not expect Gingrich to have the same voting sweep as he did in South Carolina because of the impact that Freddie Mac's business had on the people of Florida.
Florida has been particularly hard-hit with the housing bust because of loose mortgage standards, and last year, its foreclosure rate was the seventh highest in the nation.
Newt Gingrich said Monday that he has asked his former company the Center for Health Transformation to release his consulting contract with Freddie Mac, adding that it would be “very helpful” if the release came before the Florida primary.
A representative from Romney's campaign announced that this week they would be releasing a "Romney for President" television ad titled "Florida families," that would focus on how Gingrich cashed in while they were struggling.
In the latest Gallup tracking polls, Mitt Romney is a considerably weaker front-runner among Republican registered voters nationally than he was at the beginning of the week. Romney is currently at 30 percent- down seven percentage points since Jan. 15- with Gingrich closing in at 20 percent, and Rick Santorum and Ron Paul tied at 13 percent. At the beginning of the week, Romney had a 23-percentage-point lead over Gingrich and Santorum.
Reach Tricia Tongco here.
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