Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Minnesota Republican and GOP presidential candidate, is campaigning around Iowa’s 99 counties in the run up to the Iowa caucuses on January 3 and is reminding voters that fellow candidate and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich should return the $1.6 million dollars Freddie Mac paid him.
Mr. Gingrich has argued that he was a private citizen doing consultant work, when his firm received that payment from the Government Sponsored Entity.
According to reports on Sunday, Bachmann told supporters in Fort Dodge, Iowa that Mr. Gingrich had to put forward more information about the Freddie Mac payment saying, “We don’t know how much that money is. It could be more than the average salary for Iowans,” the Minnesota Republican said. “I call on Speaker Gingrich to give that money back to the American people.”
“While the rest of the country was dealing with economic meltdown, he was pocketing $1.6 million,” she added.
“I’d like to find another Republican in the race who has more critical language of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac than Newt Gingrich,” Gingrich campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond responded, when I asked how wise of a strategy it was for Mr. Gingrich to defend GSE’s, when conservatives and Republican voters point primarily to a GSE like Freddie Mac as a reason for the sub-prime mortgage crisis.
“It’s difficult for Congresswoman Bachmann to lay attacks down like that when she couldn’t lay attacks down like that if she wasn’t using the facts, which is what she was doing,” said Hammond.
Hammond’s response was similar to Mr. Gingrich’s remarks to Rep. Bachmann at Thursday night’s debate, when she unloaded on the former speaker for influence peddling on behalf of Freddie Mac. Congresswoman Bachmann, angered by Mr. Gingrich’s statement at the debate that she did “not have her facts right” said:
“This isn’t just once, I think it’s just outrageous to continue to say over and over through the debates that I don’t have my facts right, when as a matter of fact, I do.” Bachmann then added, “I am a serious candidate for the President of the United States, and my facts are accurate.”
Bachmann reiterated a similar statement to reporters on Sunday:
“I am not a student of his. I am a serious candidate for the presidency and I think it is important that I be treated as an equal on that stage,” Bachmann told reporters before boarding a bus for a 10-day visit of Iowa’s 99 counties.
“He had made these accusations before, that my facts weren’t right. But he didn’t have an answer for the $1.6 million that he took to bring about undue influence regarding Freddie Mac.”