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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Newt's Bad Day

With Newt Gingrich, controversy continues.

Jake Sherman writes at Politico:

In 2005 and 2006, the former House speaker turned presidential candidate carried as much as $500,000 in debt to the premier jewelry company, according to financial disclosures filed with the Clerk of the House of Representatives.

Gingrich, who represented Georgia in Congress for two decades, retired in 1999. But his wife, Callista Gingrich, was employed by the House Agriculture Committee until 2007, according to public records. She listed a “revolving charge account” at Tiffany and Company in the liability section of her personal financial disclosure form for two consecutive years and indicated that it was her spouse’s debt. The liability was reported in the range of $250,001 to $500,000.

When asked by POLITICO whether Gingrich has settled this debt, and why he owed between a quarter-million and a half-million dollars to a jeweler, Rick Tyler, Gingrich’s spokesman, declined to comment.

“No comment,” he said in an email.

Also at Politico, Mike Allen writes:

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich apologized in a telephone call to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Tuesday afternoon for his remarks on “Meet the Press,” where the presidential candidate referred to Ryan’s Medicare proposal as “radical change.”

“Newt apologized,” said Rick Tyler, his press secretary and longtime aide. “The call went very well.”

Gingrich, his nascent campaign in jeopardy, has shifted into fervent damage control following a furious conservative reaction to his comments — and is even expressing a rare bit of contrition.

From Iowa, Gingrich held two conference calls with tea party leaders scattered throughout the nation – one on short notice Monday night, and another Tuesday morning. Aides said Gingrich started each of the half-hour calls by explaining what he meant on “Meet the Press,” and acknowledging that he could have expressed it better. “We’ve tried to correct the record and admit it could have been done better,” Tyler said. “We move on."

More background here on the "Meet the Press" interview.

RealClearPolitics reports an exchange with an Iowa voter:

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Speaker Gingrich, what you just did to Paul Ryan is unforgivable.

NEWT GINGRICH: I didn't do anything to Paul Ryan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, you did. You undercut him and his allies in the House. You're an embarrassment to our party.

GINGRICH: I'm sorry you feel that way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why don't you get out before you make a bigger fool of yourself?

GINGRICH: I'm sorry you feel that way.