Roemer: Gingrich Too Tight With Special Interests

Friday, 25 Nov 2011 07:32 AM

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has surged in polls for the Republican presidential race, may be too tied up with special interests, according to one of his rivals, former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer.

“Newt Gingrich is a lobbyist writ large,” Roemer said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” airing this weekend.

Two companies founded by Gingrich said on Nov. 21 that they had grossed $55 million between 2001 and 2010, taking in money for consulting services and memberships in a health-policy center. Gingrich’s work included contracts worth about $1.6 million from the government-chartered mortgage company Freddie Mac, which he now criticizes as a White House hopeful.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, another front- runner for the Republican nomination, is “half a leader” because he doesn’t have Washington experience, Roemer said.

“What you need is a person free to lead,” Roemer said. “You know these candidates. They’re decent people, but they’re not free. They’re taking big checks, big special interests.”

Gingrich’s campaign spokesman, R.C. Hammond, declined to comment. Gingrich, in an interview with Bloomberg News last week, said he gave strategic advice to clients and didn’t use his connections in Congress.

“I explicitly do no lobbying,” Gingrich said.

Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for Romney, didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Addressing Corruption

Roemer, 68, who often isn’t even included in national polls on the race, said he doesn’t consider himself a frivolous candidate because he’s the only one who “addresses corruption.” He railed against the U.S. campaign-finance system, including independent political committees that have been set up to help presidential candidates.

“A person with a big check gets first in line and a person with a good idea barely makes the news,” Roemer said.


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