Republicans debated the housing bubble/bust in the January 23 NBC debate, with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney drawing political blood from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on his Freddie Mac consulting ties.
Charging Gingrich with "influence peddling," Romney sparked a spirited discussion with the following remark:
We've just learned today that his contract with Freddie Mac was provided by the lobbyist at Freddie Mac. I don't think we possibly retake the White House if the person leading our party was the person who was working for the chief lobbyist for Freddie Mac.
Gingrich worked for Freddie Mac for most of the years between the time he left Congress in 1999 and the housing bubble burst in 2007, taking in some $1.6 million in consulting fees from the government-sponsored enterprise, Freddie Mac, that was one of the key parts of the housing bubble that burst in 2008. Gingrich also boasted of Freddie Mac's business model in a 2005 interview for Freddie Mac's website, at the height of the housing bubble.
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Photo of Mitt Romney: AP Images