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January 24, 2012

Video: Romney Vs. Gingrich on "Influence Peddling"

As Romney terms it. I don't see how you could not say he was a lobbyist, save for the political need to say it wasn't lobbying.

Gingrich makes a couple of points here: Again, a general defense of GSEs ("they've done a lot of good things"); a distinction between what he calls "public advocacy" as a "citizen" and "lobbying;" and, "I'll say this in Florida,

The argument he makes -- it's crazy that we pay for surgery but not pills -- won at the time. I remember the Brit Hume panel discussing it, and Democratic-leaning analyst Mort Kondrache said the same thing.

At the time, I opposed this thing, but I found that argument somewhat persuasive. Except for the part that wasn't mentioned -- that we were now on the hook for billions more in socialized health care for a group which, as a group, is wealthier than the rest of the country.

Another point of contention is how much Gingrich was paid by Freddie Mac. Gingrich previously claimed $300,000. It turns out it's $1.7 million. Gingrich's argument is that $1.7 million is what was paid to his company, and the $300,000 figure is therefore true, as that was the amount he received, personally. That's why he keeps bringing up Bain; he means that Romney didn't personally receive every dollar flowing to Bain.

Although I don't know how many people he had on staff, it seems unlikely to me that the only truly big political figure at this firm (it was Gingrich's firm) got such a small share of the payments.

In fact, since one contract was specifically for $300,000 for one year's work, it appears that Gingrich's $300,000 figure was just for one year. Not sure why he doesn't just say that.

Someone asked, "Do you really think Obama can bring up Freddie Mac in an attack?" I said yes, but I see there may be some problems there. I think they'll do it anyway.

That said, in a campaign in which "most vigorous spokesman for small-government conservatism" is very important, I'm not sure why it should only matter if Obama can effectively make an issue about it.

If we're supporting Gingrich because he's ostensibly conservative, shouldn't this stuff bother us, whether it can be used in a political ad or not?

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posted by Ace at 08:30 AM

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