In response to lobbying accusations from his opponents Newt Gingrich told me it would be “very helpful” if his former company, Center for Health Transformation, released the consulting contract he had with mortgage giant Freddie Mac before the Florida primary on January 31.
“I think it would be very helpful and our attorneys are talking with the company. You know I left the company so, it’s their decision and Nancy Desmond, the president of the company, has to make the decision. But I’d be very comfortable releasing them,” he said.
Since Gingrich won Saturday’s South Carolina primary, Mitt Romney has upped the attacks on the former Speaker. In Florida last night Romney questioned the work Gingrich did for Freddie Mac and asked for him to release those records.
“Over the last, what, 15 years, since he left the House, he talks about great bold movements and ideas. Well, what’s he been doing for 15 years? He has been working as a lobbyist. He was working as a lobbyist and selling influence around Washington,” Romney said. “He was working for Freddie Mac — heard of those guys? He says that he’s just been a historian, I would like him to release his records, what was his work product?”
Gingrich said his former company is working around the confidentiality agreements and added that he found it “ironic” that Romney is the one advocating for this release.
“Here’s someone who has released none of his business records, who has decided to make a stand on transparency without being transparent,” Gingrich told me.
“I did no lobbying, period. [Romney] keeps using the word lobbyist because I’m sure his consultants tell him it scores well. It’s not true. He knows it’s not true. He is deliberately saying things he knows are false. I just think that’s what the next week will be like,” he said.
With nine days until Floridians vote, Gingrich previewed his criticism of Romney, who is currently leading in most polls in the sunshine state.
“I want to talk about big issues. I want to talk about Romneycare. I want to draw a contrast between Romneycare and Obamacare, which are virtually identical and what I would do in developing patient power and allowing people and their doctors to be in charge,” Gingrich said. “So we’ll see, I think the people of Florida will prefer big solutions to small negative attacks. And I think in the end just as happened in South Carolina, Governor Romney’s liberal record in Massachusetts plus the style of his campaign will end up I think having him lose.”