Entries in Gingrich (4)


Republicans Set To Square Off In Pivotal Iowa Debate

Jessica McGowan/Getty Images(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- Only three weeks from the Iowa caucuses, the top Republican candidates will square off Saturday night at a pivotal debate in the state capital. The debate, hosted by ABC News and moderated by Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos, starts at 9 p.m. ET, live from Drake University.

The prime-time debate comes as the GOP race has started to reach a boiling point. With Newt Gingrich surging to the top of the pack, former front-runner Mitt Romney has launched scathing attacks from all sides, from his key surrogates to a political action committee that, while not affiliated with the campaign, is funded by many Romney donors.

The ad accuses Gingrich of ”flip flopping” on a slew of issues and claims that Democrats are hoping that the former House Speaker -- rather than Romney -- secures the Republican nomination.

With a picture of President Obama on the screen, the ad asks, “Why is this man smiling?” The answer: “Because his plan is working,” the ad’s narrator says. “Brutally attack Mitt Romney and hope Newt Gingrich is his opponent.”

Romney is not alone by any means in attacking Gingrich. Michele Bachmann, who won the Iowa straw poll in August but has since faded, dubbed Gingrich “a poster child for crony capitalism” and “the ultimate consummate influence peddler.” Ron Paul, who finished a close second to Bachmann at the Ames event, has unveiled slick web videos going after Gingrich. Jon Huntsman, who is not competing here in Iowa, called Gingrich a product of Washington “who participated in the excesses of our broken and polarized political system.”

The flurry of attacks should come as no surprise to Gingrich: It’s what happens when you’re on top. Every poll released this week seemed to bring better and better news for Gingrich. An ABC News/Washington Post poll showed Gingrich in the lead with 33 percent support in Iowa, followed by Romney and Paul tied at 18 percent. In two other key early states — South Carolina and Florida — Gingrich also holds impressive leads of 23 percent, according to the most recent CNN-Time magazine polls. In addition, according to a Quinnipiac University poll of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, Gingrich “cuts sharply into President Barack Obama’s general election lead should he win the GOP nomination.”

It’s all leading up to a fascinating — and potentially explosive — debate come Saturday night: There’s the newfound clarity of the race, with the upstart Gingrich at the top, followed by Romney, with much more money and much stronger organization. There’s the increasing intensity, as attacks come fast and furious from all sides. There’s the unpredictability of the race, from Rick Perry to Herman Cain, as various candidates have surged to the front only to fall back into the pack. And don’t forget the looming caucuses: Iowans vote on Jan. 3.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Bachmann Attacks Gingrich on Link to Freddie Mac

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WEBSTER CITY, Iowa) -- GOP contender Rep. Michele Bachmann attacked the latest GOP frontrunner Wednesday, assailing former Speaker Newt Gingrich for receiving over $1 million in consulting fees from mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

Gingrich, now nearing the top of the polls, said Wednesday he did not remember how much he was paid for work he did at Freddie Mac between 1999 and 2007, but a former Freddie Mac official said it was upward of $1.5 million.

Freddie Mac and its sister institution Fannie Mae have been blamed by many, on both sides of the aisle, for playing a role in the housing crisis that precipitated the financial crisis, making Gingrich’s involvement there fodder for the competition.

“Fannie and Freddie, as you know, have been the epicenter of the financial meltdown in this country,” Bachmann said. “And whether former Speaker Gingrich made $300,000 or whether he made $2 million, the point is that he took money to influence senior Republicans to be favorable toward Fannie and Freddie,” she said Wednesday at a campaign event in Webster City, Iowa.

“While he was taking that money, I was fighting against Fannie and Freddie.  And I believe that Fannie and Freddie should be allowed to go into receivership and have an orderly winding down....And so I’m standing up for the little guy in the United States and I believe that Fannie and Freddie need to be shut down. And so I wasn’t shilling for them, I was fighting them,” she said.

The comments came following a CBS Early Show interview Wednesday morning in which Bachmann also came down hard on Gingrich for appearing with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in a television ad about global warming, and for his support of an individual health care mandate.

“He was standing with Nancy Pelosi to advocate for a national sales tax on energy. That’s not what we need right now in our economy. He was also the chief author of the individual health care mandate and that is what is [now] known as Obamacare. No one wants to see that either,” Bachmann said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Gingrich Campaign Pushes Back on Fake Twitter Followers Accusation

SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- Newt Gingrich’s campaign continues to push back on accusations that many of the presidential candidate’s 1.3 million Twitter followers -- a number he boasted was the most of any Republican candidate -- are actually fake.

“We’ve never utilized firms, agencies, or outside organizations to inflate Newt’s Twitter followers,” R.C. Hammond, press secretary for Newt Gingrich, told ABC News.

A Gawker story released Monday cited an unnamed former staffer as saying 80% of Gingrich’s Twitter followers are fake and Gingrich employed social media agencies to create phony accounts to boost his Twitter following.  

Tuesday, PeekYou, a social media analytics site, announced it used an algorithm to evaluate Gingrich’s Twitter followers and found that 92 percent of them are fake.

"The data supported that out of Newt’s 1.3 million followers only 8 percent (2 percent less than claimed in recent media reports), are identified by our algorithm as humans, meaning Newt’s follower count is really closer to 106,055,” Michael Hussey, CEO and founder of PeekYou!, said in the company’s blog.

One potential explanation for Gingrich’s large Twitter following is that Twitter has promoted Gingrich as a “suggested user.”

“It's our policy not to comment on specific accounts.  In general, though, the suggested user list is a very effective way for people to find you on Twitter, and helps boost follower count,” Jodi Thomas, a spokesman for Twitter, told ABC News in an e-mail Monday.

In May, Newt Gingrich made history by becoming the first candidate ever to use Twitter to announce his presidential run.  At the time of his announcement, Gingrich had 1.3 million followers on Twitter, and since then, the growth in his Twitter following has been stagnant.

Gingrich maintains his own account and has used Twitter since 2009.  Gingrich also has over 9600 followers on the new Google+ site and has held two “hangouts,” which are video chat sessions, to talk with potential voters over the Internet.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Newt Gingrich: 'This is the Obama Depression'

ABC News(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- Newt Gingrich labeled the economic situation in the U.S. as the “Obama depression,” just days after a dismal jobs report and signs negotiations on the debt deal are faltering.

“At 9.2 percent now for month after month after month, this is the Obama depression,” Gingrich said on Fox and Friends Sunday morning. “Housing prices have dropped deeper than in the great depression and it’s very clear that under Obama’s job killing policies, we’re not going to get out of this deep unemployment.”

The former speaker of the House praised Speaker John Boehner for making the decision that Republicans will not stand for tax increases.

“Republicans are correct to say first of all, no tax increase period. John Boehner was right. He deserves credit for recognizing that the right position for conservatives is no tax increase. Second, they ought to get the biggest spending cut deal they can by taking what Vice President Biden put on the table,” Gingrich said.  "I think the largest deal possible with no tax increases is fine."

In a National Review op-ed Friday, Gingrich wrote, "Republicans should reject the establishment's demand for a tax increase.  There is plenty of money to be saved from a bloated government without giving Washington one penny of higher taxes."

Gingrich joined fellow 2012 Republican contender Mitt Romney in criticizing David Plouffe’s claim that Americans won’t cast their votes in the 2012 election based on unemployment numbers, saying Plouffe lives in a “fantasy.”

“If you’re David Plouffe and you’ve got a nice job, it’s easy for you to say the unemployment rate doesn’t matter,” Gingrich said. “When you go out and talk to Americans in the rest of the country outside Washington, I guarantee you the unemployment rate matters, the economy matters, the price of housing matters, and in every one of those issues, this Obama depression is real.”

“If David Plouffe thinks they’re going to be able to have 9.2 percent unemployment and not have a very public reaction against the president, I think he’s living in a fantasy.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio