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 today 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.
“This highlights just one of the many examples where former Speaker Newt Gingrich had positions that are really against what the people in the primary states are looking for,” Bachmann said.
“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,” she said
On Tuesday, Bachmann released the most negative ad of her campaign thus far.
In the ad titled “No Surprises 2012″ Bachmann attacks most of her Republican competition for switching positions on policies, or avowing ideas that are not in lockstep with conservative ideology.