GREENVILLE, S.C. - Mitt Romney for the first time called on former Speaker Newt Gingrich today to release the reports he wrote for Freddie Mac.
"Speaker Gingrich worked for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. By the way, didn't he say he was going to release information about his relationship there?" Romney asked this morning at a drop-by event at his campaign headquarters in Greenville. "Let's see what report he wrote for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, what the conclusions were and what the contract looked like. I thought he said he was going to do that. And let's have him describe his relationships in Washington."
Romney said Gingrich, who has maintained that he was a "historian" for the mortgage lender during the 2000s despite receiving $1.6 million over nine years in "consulting fees," should release the reports, which he dubbed a "big issue," so that the public could see what he "actually" said.
"I'd like to see what the report was that he provided to Freddie Mac, I'd like to see what he advised," Romney said. "He said he was an historian and just provided historical information, then he said he told them what they were doing was somehow not going to work. I'd like to see the report. "
"He also said that he was one of the authors of the Reagan revolution economically and created these jobs. Now that we've looked at the Reagan diaries and seen he's mentioned only once and in a way where Reagan said he was wrong, I'd like to see what he actually told Freddie Mac," Romney said. "Don't you think we ought to see it? This is a big issue. We've got Washington insider talking about Freddie Mac, let's see what his report was to Freddie Mac, what he said to them, what advice he gave them."
Romney's request comes as he has spent the week explaining why he will not release his tax returns until April, an issue that surrogate and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley brought up during the event this morning.
"All this issue about the tax returns, he's doing it, he's going to do it in April, he's going to show 'em, and what we're going to see is he was successful. We're going to see that he paid on time," Haley said. "We're going to see that he paid at the rate that he was supposed to. What I will tell you is that we've got some other candidates who don't want to show things. We're going to continue to wait and see what happens, but I tell you tonight is going to be a great night. We're going to celebrate."
Romney also said he wished he'd been invited to join the conference call President Obama hosted last night with donors to solicit ideas for his State of the Union address.
"I wasn't invited on the call, but it was unfortunate, because I would have had a lot to say," Romney said. "First, I would have told him, isn't it time to actually put together a plan to create jobs in America?"
"I think it would be wonderful if we could have a couple of people on the president's conference call," he said. "Maybe that's going to require somebody giving $10 or $15 to his campaign, but it may be worth it to see if we can help him craft a different message for the State of the Union."
When a woman nearby yelled something about Obama's "cash for clunkers" program, Romney turned her remark into a new catch phrase.
"Yeah, that's right, he had a plan to get the whole economy going, cash for clunkers," Romney replied. "So we're going to, that's not a bad idea, Obama is the clunker. We don't need cash to get rid of that clunker, we just need votes."