On Monday we referred to Newt Gingrich as the latest flavor of the month in the “Anybody but Romney” campaign for the Republican nomination.
We may have spoken bit too soon. Newt’s lead may not last the week.
Caught in another lie, Newt struggled to explain his relationship with Freddie Mac; an institution that you won’t find listed on any conservative “A” list.
It seems Newt did some work with Freddie Mac in 2006 for which he says he was paid $300,000. During the CNBC debate Newt said that he “offered them advice on precisely what they didn’t do” and warned them that their lending practices were “insane.” He said that he advised the troubled firm as a “historian” and that he did not act as a lobbyist.
Bloomberg reports that former Freddie Mac executives familiar with Newt’s work in 2006 seem to disagree. They say that Newt was paid between $1.6 and $1.8 million to “build bridges to Capitol Hill Republicans and develop an arrangement on behalf of the company’s public-private structure that would resonate with conservatives seeking to dismantle it”. Apparently this does not constitute “lobbying” in the World of Newt.
But then Newt is a very unique, complex and cerebral individual; and it is difficult for us mere mortals to comprehend the depth of his knowledge or the intricate inner workings of his activities. As he told CNN: “Because I am much like Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, I am such an unconventional political figure that you really need to design a unique campaign that fits the way I operate and what I’m trying to do.”
Newt’s unique campaign, masquerading as a book tour, has taken him to the top of the polls. But Newt had best tread lightly. In this Republican campaign, maintaining flavor of the month status is tenuous at best. Whether you are a “historian” or a “lobbyist” aiding and abetting the enemy for a cool $1.6 million will get you knocked off your perch.