Entries in Sarah Palin (4)


Newt Gingrich: In It to Win It -- Or To Get Paid?

Jessica McGowan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In presidential politics, winning is no longer everything. Especially for Newt Gingrich, who has used his run for president as a kind of savvy marketing campaign built around his political persona.

In the last five years, critics say the former Speaker of the House has lived a life of luxury built around his empire, including millions in private jet travel, paid for with donations to a political group he founded. Gingrich's lifestyle also includes a million dollar home in suburban Washington and jewelry from Tiffany's.

"You can do very well by running for president," said Scott Reed, a Republican strategist. "You don't always have to win."  

Sarah Palin, a little-known governor before John McCain picked her as his running mate in 2008, has turned her political celebrity into a multi-million dollar business, with books, paid speeches, and a reality TV show.

"There's a heck of a business out there for ex-politicians that have run," said Reed, who managed Sen. Bob Dole's 1996 presidential campaign. Reed said Palin actually has a "real choice" to make about running in 2012, "because she has a very lucrative career going right now."  

But Reed says that for some Republicans this election cycle, running for president seems mostly about marketing -- about creating or enhancing a valuable brand name.

"I mean to me it's kind of a game," said Reed. "It makes their brand have some value."

And no one seems to have realized that more than Gingrich, who has not held elective office since 1999. When he was pressed on the half-million-dollar account that he and his wife Callista had with Tiffany's on Face the Nation, Gingrich called it a "standard, no-interest account" and said he and his wife live on a budget.

"Go talk to Tiffany's," Gingrich told host Bob Schieffer. "All I'm telling you is, we are very frugal. We in fact live within our budget."

Earlier this month, Gingrich and Callista took a cruise in the Greek isles, which led virtually his whole staff to resign, questioning whether he was more interested in selling books and DVDs than running for president.  

Part of Gingrich's empire, a kind of Gingrich, Inc., includes several for-profit businesses. Gingrich Communications oversees his paid speaking engagements and Fox News contract. Gingrich Group provides consulting services. Gingrich Productions makes feel-good documentaries with themes grounded in religion and American tradition.  

This week Gingrich also released his 24th book, with many of his upcoming campaign stops doubling as marketing events for his book and movies, raising more questions about the true intentions of the campaign.

"If he's being driven by book sales, and movie openings and things like that, that doesn't fit into a traditional campaign," said Reed.

Also raising questions from independent watchdog groups is the operation of a charity Gingrich founded, called Renewing American Leadership. Its website contained ads for Gingrich's books -- taken down after ABC News asked about them -- and posted his positions on political hot-button issues.

"It's not clear that it is a charity," said Ellen Miller, executive director of the non-partisan group The Sunlight Foundation. "We have an organization that looks like he's mixing public purpose and his own private political purpose."

The charity's fundraising letters, on Gingrich's letterhead, attack President Obama and also promote Gingrich's book. In fact, records show the charity bought Gingrich's books to give to those who send in donations. There was no discount in the price, according to the charity's new director, Pastor Jim Garlow.

"My concern was, 'Is there any way we can get these a lot cheaper?' and we couldn't and we didn't," said Garlow.

A recent audit discovered that the charity paid one of Gingrich's for-profit companies more than $200,000, which the charity says was used to pay his then-press secretary Rick Tyler, who was also the director of the charity -- until March -- and made the decision to buy the Gingrich books with charity funds.

Garlow said he didn't think Gingrich's charity and political career had become too intertwined, and accused ABC News of misreading Gingrich's intent.

Said Garlow, "What's so intriguing about you, in the media, you can't believe people have pure motives. That's so hard for you. So difficult for you.  You assume everyone's got evil motives."

Gingrich refused repeated requests to be interviewed about his empire, and had little to say when ABC News caught up with him Tuesday morning on his way to a speech.

"I'm not concerned about that," said Gingrich. "The American people are not concerned about that. Cover the speech."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Economic Boost or Bad Policy? GOP Denounces New Fed Plan

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Federal Reserve's new $600 billion monetary stimulus plan is designed to spur the country's sluggish economic recovery. But the central bank's program is now encountering a growing backlash both at home and abroad.

China and Russia have criticized Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's plan, while prominent Republicans are starting to voice concerns of their own.

"I would say that Bernanke is fundamentally wrong, that he is running -- he is fundamentally misreading the economy. This economy lacks confidence in the government. It doesn't lack cash," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told ABC News Tuesday.

Under the plan dubbed QE2 -- which stands for quantitative easing -- the Fed will buy $600 billion worth of government bonds in a bid to make loans cheaper and get Americans to spend more. Doing so is designed help the economy and prompt companies to boost hiring.

The top Republican on the Senate Banking panel told ABC News that he is "worried" about the Fed's plan. "While I share Chairman Bernanke's concern regarding the condition of the economy, I am worried about the risks associated with his actions," said Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama. "However, Chairman Bernanke would not be in this position had President Obama and the Democrats used their power to enact pro-growth policies. Instead, they have grown government and created the most anti-business regulatory environment our country has ever seen."

The comments come on the heels of former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's calls for the Fed to "cease and desist" with its new plan. "It means our government is pumping money into the banking system by buying up Treasury bonds. And where, you may ask, are we getting the money to pay for all this? We're printing it out of thin air," Palin told a trade association convention in Phoenix on Monday, according to the National Review.

"And if it doesn't work, what do we do then? Print even more money? What's the end game here?," Palin asked. "Where will all this money-printing on an unprecedented scale take us? Do we have any guarantees that QE2 won't be followed by QE3, 4, and 5, until eventually -- inevitably -- no one will want to buy our debt anymore? We shouldn't be playing around with inflation."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Gingrich: Bernanke 'Fundamentally Wrong,' 'Misreading Economy'

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- They could soon be political opponents if Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin decide to make a run for the Oval Office, but speaking to ABC News on Tuesday, the former speaker of the House agreed with Palin’s criticism of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.

“I would say that Bernanke is fundamentally wrong,” Gingrich said. “He is fundamentally misreading the economy. This economy lacks confidence in the government, it doesn’t lack cash.”

Palin on Monday called on Bernanke to “cease and desist” with his plan to buy $600 billion worth of bonds and cited a warning from the German minister of finance, according to the National Review.

Gingrich said it is “interesting” that Palin and Germany are on the same side – but added America should take a look at what the country accomplished.
“Germany right now has its lowest unemployment rate in 18 years. They are the only exporting country in Europe that can compete with China,” he said.

So what will help the U.S. economy? Gingrich said we need certainty on taxes.

“When the Democrats left Congress without having passed a tax bill they guaranteed that no company in America, no investor in America has a clue on January 1 what their taxes are,” he said. “That’s an environment where you don’t create jobs. And pouring out more paper money and increasing the risk of inflation is not a very clever way of trying to solve that.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Sarah Palin Takes On Ben Bernanke

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With the midterm elections behind her, Sarah Palin is shifting her focus to tackling the Federal Reserve's monetary policy. In remarks at a trade association convention in Phoenix on Monday, Palin called on Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to “cease and desist” the “Fed’s pump priming addiction.”

“I’m deeply concerned about the Federal Reserve’s plans to buy up anywhere from $600 billion to as much as $1 trillion of government securities. The technical term for it is ‘quantitative easing.’ It means our government is pumping money into the banking system by buying up treasury bonds. And where, you may ask, are we getting the money to pay for all this? We’re printing it out of thin air,” Palin said, according to the National Review, which obtained a copy of her prepared remarks.

“And if it doesn’t work, what do we do then? Print even more money? What’s the end game here? Where will all this money printing on an unprecedented scale take us? Do we have any guarantees that QE2 won’t be followed by QE3, 4, and 5, until eventually – inevitably – no one will want to buy our debt anymore?” Palin said. “We shouldn’t be playing around with inflation.”

The former Alaska governor also took her concerns to Twitter, posting Monday morning, “Today:trade speech;tmrw school event 2 start discussing QuantitativeEasing w kids around US so they prepare 4 Feds experiment w their future.”

Palin’s comments come as President Obama prepares for the G20 summit in South Korea later this week, where the Federal Reserve’s $600 billion “QE2” program is expected to be a key issue.

Obama defended the policy Monday in India and hit back at criticisms that QE2 risks destabilizing the global economy.

“I will say that the Fed's mandate, my mandate, is to grow our economy. And that's not just good for the United States, that's good for the world as a whole,” Obama at a press conference Monday in New Delhi. “The worst thing that could happen to the world economy, not ours -- not just ours, but the entire world's economy -- is if we end up being stuck with no growth or very limited growth. And I think that's the Fed's concern, and that's my concern as well.”

Instead of QE2, Palin is expected to call for a stable dollar and broad economic reform. “It’s the only way we can get our economy back on the right track,” she said.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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