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Gingrich Denies ‘Backing Off’ Bain Attacks

From a joyous New York Times:

Gingrich Denies He’s Backing Off Attacks on Romney

By TRIP GABRIEL
January 11, 2012

SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Newt Gingrich’s campaign on Wednesday denied a report that he was backing away from attacking Mitt Romney over his career as a corporate takeover specialist at Bain Capital.

“We will continue to examine what decisions he made at Bain,’’ Mr. Gingrich’s spokesman said. “And the American people can decide whether or not they want an investment banker in chief as their commander in chief.’’

Now "investment bankers" are evil?

For the record, it should be noted that Gingrich himself was involved with a private equity firm, Forstmann Little. In fact, Forstmann Little was one of the world’s first leveraged buyout firms.

Mr. Gingrich went on the Forstmann Little board as soon as he left Congress in 1999. He left the board in 2001.

At a midday appearance on Wednesday, Mr. Gingrich had seemed to repudiate the sharp attacks of recent days, in which he has accused Mr. Romney of “looting” companies

A man who rose to speak here said that he, too, did not want Mr. Romney to be the nominee, but he pleaded with Mr. Gingrich to call off the Bain attacks. “I want to beg you to redirect and go after his obvious disingenuousness about his conservatism and lay off the corporatist versus the free market,’’ the audience member said.

Mr. Gingrich replied: “I agree with you. It’s an impossible theme to talk about with Obama in the background. Obama just makes it impossible to talk rationally because he’s so deeply invested in class warfare that automatically you get an echo effect.’’

The remark, as reported by Politico, ran under the headline “Newt Gingrich: I crossed the line,’’ in an account that interpreted Mr. Gingrich as repudiating his tactics.

But his spokesman, R.C. Hammond, said Mr. Gingrich never meant to imply that he had gone too far, nor that he was shifting strategy

This was a tremendously misleading report from the Politico. The headline certainly was not supported by the body of the story.

We suspect a lot of readers thought that there must have been more than what they were reporting at the time.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Thursday, January 12th, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

21 Responses to “Gingrich Denies ‘Backing Off’ Bain Attacks”

  1. Mithrandir

    Wasted Opportunity

    If you are in politics, or in business, or LIFE, long enough, your hands are going to get dirty, or you are going to be linked to people with dirty hands. –6 degrees of separation. I am only concerned about
    1. How bad is the dirt.
    2. How long did you wallow in it.
    3. How bad is the company you keep.
    4. Did you change your ways when you had the chance.
    5. Did you apologize if you harmed anyone.
    6. Did you try to make up for the harm.
    7. Did you encourage anyone else to do it?

    HOW MANY DEMOCRATS follow these rules? “I-did-not-have-sex-with-that-woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anyone to lie, not a single time.” —-“Indeed I did have an inappropriate relationship with that woman.”

    I could really care a less about the warts on the Republican candidates.

    The candidate that can best articulates what is wrong with the current administration, can best identify its errors, and has the best ideas on how to right the ship is really the only thing I care about!

    It’s too bad. Gingrich had a real shot at turning this country around, now he is just playing spoiler to a liberal moderate who should not have even been allowed to campaign as a Republican. Doesn’t the RNC have ANY rules about who can run and get funding and who can’t?

  2. proreason

    Karl Rove and co are on the verge of completing the most awesome con job on conservatives that has ever been pulled off.

    Background:
    – Mitt Romney is a very unpopular candidate. He couldn’t even pull 40% in his home state, the state that propelled John McCain to his nomination
    – Nobody thinks Romney is conservative. He doesn’t have a single conservative accomplishment.
    – Obamacare is based on Romney’s signature legislative achievement
    – Romney made his fortune as a corporate raider, which means he shut down many companies, for profit, which might otherwise have survived
    – Romney has the unqualified backing of the Republican Ruling Class…the guys who elected obama, and have 49% responsibility for setting the conditiions that made Obama possible
    – But he is a pretty good political candidate because he stays on message, and is top shelf at the art of double-talk. Not obama level, but still pretty good.

    In a rational world, Mitt Romney would be a fringe Republican candidate who would have been forced to drop out after Iowa. Yet he is on the verge of becoming the party’s nominee in the most important election of our lifetime. How can that be?

    It can be because the Republican Ruling Class has pulled one of the greatest political cons of all time. Here is how it has been done.

    – The money’ed republican establishment has poured so much money into Romney’s campaign that he has more money than the other eight candidates combined, by far, perhaps by a factor of 10
    – They have serially undermined each candidate who has taken the lead. This includes at least Rick Perry (the rock), Herman Cain (the women) and Newt Gingrich (he may be insane). All but the last were done through subterfuge. Nobody really knows for sure how the Perry and Cain issues came up, but it is almost certainly Romney’s backers. Why would the marxists do those things before September? That just doesn’t make sense. They may also have undermined Bachman, although that is not as clear.
    – This has been abetted by payoffs for the conservative pundit class. If you think Ann Coulter and Mark Steyn are big fans of Mitt Romney, you are a fool. They are the most annoying, but I suppose you can make a case for Coulter that her pick of Romney is made as a well-meaning strategy. But 90% of established pundits are on Romney’s team. 90%!!?? When there have been at least four genuine conservatives in the race. Give me a break. The conservative msm is in the tank for Romney and it ain’t because they trust him or think that he’s conservative.
    – But the most interesting thing is the coup de grace, and this is where everyday conservatives have been punked like never before. Remember, you all despise Romney, and wouldn’t support him in a million years, except that now many of you do. How can that be? Because Rove played the anti-capitalism card, that’s why. When Newt Gingrich questioned Romney’s business ethics, which has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH BEING AGAINST CAPITALISM, Rove and co blew the dog whistle. They changed the subject (not even in a subtle manner) from Romney’s ethics to the ridiculous claim that Newt is attacking capitalism. And the conservative world fell in line, and marched to pavlov’s kitchen to get their dog scraps. Even Sean Hannity, who has always been a Newt fan. It’s really pretty stunning. How people can be that stupid is beyond me. But they are.

    So the candidate of the republican party in the year of the Tea Party will be a Massachusetts Liberal (in the tradition of Teddy Kennedy, John Kerry, and now Scott Brown) whose platform (if you bother to look at it) is a weak version of Bush’s compassiionate conservatism. Romney probably won’t cut a single thin dime from the budget. Do you really believe Obamacare will be banished if Romney is the president…..when he defends Romneycare to the death? Do you really believe there will be entitlement reform if he gets elected? Do you even believe he can be elected? Whether or not you responded to Karl Rove’s Dog Whistle, surely you are aware that Romney is the poster child for fat-cat Wall Street predators. Maybe you are appalled by the video that is out about him. Doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not. If you don’t understand the effect that will have on the wakeupeveryfouryears voters, then you are hopeless. And then, of course, there is the religion, and the flip-flopping, and the swarminess, and the track record, and the many failed campaigns, and the luke-warm support.

    Good bye, America

    • tranquil.night

      I don’t think they’re in the tank for Romney yet, other than those who’ve declared so. But I think they’re preparing to “eat the sandwich” as Rush put it. And I’m all but convinced they’re trying to push Newt and Perry out to attempt a last-ditch coalescing around Santorum. Levin basically said he was as committed to such until it appeared Newt was going to back off the Bain attacks, which was distortive by the Politico.

    • Mithrandir

      Reagan didn’t eliminate a single department, when he could have cancelled Carter’s dept. of education right off the bat.

      H.W. Bush, who gave us liberal justice david souter.

      Clinton, who had to sign welfare reform kicking and screaming.

      Bush who gave us the dept. of homeland security, 2 expensive wars, the hated TSA, and Medicare Part D.

      Obama, who has added about 5 trillion to the debt since he got in office, and will probably ask for more.

      No matter what we do, we just can’t seem to elect anyone that can or will shrink the size of government. And McRomney is another big gov’t-bot that will continue the practice. If we can’t even get a conservative on the Republican ticket, we never will. You know McRomney will give the V.P. spot to a conservative just like McCain did, like H.W. Bush did, like George Bush did, it is part of the dog and pony show.

  3. tranquil.night

    “Now ‘investment bankers’ are evil?”

    Is that an extrapolation or an actual quote.

    Because after TARP I’m never going to believe again that every investment banker is virtuous solely because their activities are said to be under some umbrella definition of capitalism.

    Of course the impact of the misdeeds of government are far more egregious and far-reaching and in so many cases are the reason why markets and businesses can’t function and pursue profit healthily (sometimes the government can perverse the profit motive in what ends up incentivizing destructive processes), but I’m still trying to square that with the conventional wisdom that it means we can’t question any private business practices.

    • proreason

      Steve has drunk the Rovian koolaid on this one. He’s putting words in Gingrich’s mouth.

      As if Romney is a model of free enterprise.

      What people think about when they defend capitalism is Steve Jobs and the iphone, or on a lower scale, the guy who risked his stake to open up the restaurant on the corner….not a bunch of rich guys who look to get richer by helping (or feasting on) other struggling businesses. If it turns out the Bain was the Mother Theresa of “turnaround specialists”, then Mitt deserves our love and admiration. Of course, one might expect that he would easily be able to prove it, so you have to wonder. So far, crickets from the accused.

      But Newt’s point in the quote doesn’t even go that far. All he did in that quote was to raise the issue of the electability of an investment banker as the Republican candidate, which is certainly something worth thinking about. He didn’t even use the several more insulting terms available.

      The Slimes article says “he has accused Mr. Romney of “looting” companies.”. Here’s the actual quote:

      “I’m for capitalism,” Gingrich told Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity Monday night. “I’m for honest entrepreneurs investing, I’m for people creating businesses. Now, Callista and I have created four small businesses in the last decade, I get it. But I’m not for looting.”

      So you can see how the masters of disinformation do it. Newt’s comment is pretty strong, but he didn’t accuse Romney of looting, he said he is opposed to looting. And btw, how does that compare to the things Romney’s Pac smeared Newt with in Iowa? At least Gingrich has the guts to speak for himself rather than hiding behind other people and then having the audacity to feign ignorance.

    • tranquil.night

      Well, when I think of ‘free enterprise’ I mostly just think ‘free,’ and so that’s a pretty expansive idea.

      The problem I see is that oppressive government policy shrinks liberty, thus opportunity, and thus can perverse the profit motive.

      The rush is always to blame poor workers, or poor management, say when a manufacturing plant can’t stay profitable. Why isn’t the obvious acknowledged that it’s typically because government taxation and regulation has pushed them to the brink of uncompetitiveness compared to China or other dirt cheap labor states?

      So if an American based global venture capitalist group exists that swoops in and basically turns a profit on scrapping the sick puppies resulting from oppressive government policies, is that a status quo that Conservatives find in the best interests of the United States?

      The problem is further thus, as Erick Erickson put it, Romney makes no distinction between the private and public sector – therefore he doesn’t understand the role and impact of big government on the free markets – and like most Progressive Republicans, think they actually should have a more intertwined relationship. Maybe the perceptions would be different if the Bain record had prompted Romney towards an understanding of how much government was choking productive American industries, even if that was to the benefit of other area of commerce sometimes. His past and current governing worldview do not suggest an internalization of that lesson.

      That’s not exactly the direction the criticism is coming from, but I wonder if it is perhaps is a piece of the problem.

      Oddly enough, you know whose plan almost directly addresses this rust belt/white collar dichotomy within the movement in policy format? Rick Santorum, through his manufacturing zero-out. The guy not going near Bain’s record. Heh.

      Update: Here’s that Erickson post – http://www.redstate.com/erick/.....apitalism/

    • Steve

      “Steve has drunk the Rovian koolaid on this one.”

      LOL.

      Some day you may learn the irony of this.

    • proreason

      I don’t know about Erickson’s point, but it’s pretty obvious Romney is a big BIG government guy.

      Another thing that bothers me related to all of this is that Romney clearly thinks he is a grand tinkerer, and would just love to get his hands on the US tinker toy to tighten a few widgets.

      You can probably say something similar about Newt and Santorum, but at least those guys have a conservative philisophy on which to base their meddling.

      I don’t think Mitt has a philosophical basis for anything. He blows with the wind.

      and oh yeh, he doesn’t seem to have a problem destroying people’s lives…as long as it’s in a good cause…as he defines good.

    • proreason

      Now Mitt’s attacking capitalism:

      http://minx.cc/?post=325570

      At least he’s consistent about being on every side of every issue

    • tranquil.night

      Okay, maybe moving towards clarity finally.

      Per Drudge and Ace, the Fortune review of the ‘King of Bain’ documentary: http://finance.fortune.cnn.com.....b-fizzles/

      ‘To be clear, none of this is to suggest that Romney and Bain didn’t make some very real mistakes, or that they shouldn’t be criticized for situations in which they profited from financial engineering rather than from company growth. But the Winning Our Future PAC goes beyond that, intentionally obscuring the record in a way that makes such honest discussions more difficult. And for that, Winning Our Future deserves some scorn of its own.

      Meanwhile, hattip HotAir headlines, E.J. Dionne:http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....s_opinions

      This is why Romney’s defense of his work as a venture capitalist is one of the truly authentic parts of an otherwise heavily scripted campaign. He speaks with genuine passion when he accuses his conservative opponents of putting “free enterprise on trial.”

      But that goes to the heart of the matter: “Free” for whom and under what circumstances? Capitalists of Romney’s sort never want to acknowledge how much their ability to make money depends on what government does. How does it structure the laws related to property, taxation and debt? What rules does it write on how companies can be acquired and how power within firms is apportioned among shareholders, employees, managers and other stakeholders? These are not natural laws. They are the work of politicians and the lobbyists who influence them.

      Which leads to this observation from Gingrich: “I think there’s a real difference,” he said, “between people who believed in the free market and people who go around, take financial advantage, loot companies, leave behind broken families, broken towns, people on unemployment.” Yes, there are different kinds of capitalism.

      Romney’s victory speech suggested that he hopes that the campaign will be about whether President Obama wants to turn the United States into Europe. A more relevant discussion would be over what American capitalism is — and should be. Thanks to Gingrich and Perry, this debate is now unavoidable.

      Uh oh, it really is the Twilight Zone when occupooper T.N. and opinion writers from the WaPoo are parroting eachother. Except the fact that Obama is turning us into a European Socialist state is completely relevant. It sets the backdrop.

      This week’s episode: “The GoP’s Creative Destruction”

      I wonder if something better will emerge.

    • proreason

      hmmm

      Newt wasn’t opening a discussion on the merits of different types of capitalism. He simply raised a flag about Romney’s ethics.

      But RoveRomney loved the opportunity to turn the discussion away from Romney and toward a broader discussion of capitalism itself, because then it isn’t about Romney, it’s about something that every conservative HAS to support, and with imeverythingtoeverybody Mitt in the center of the vortex.

      Now useful idiot Dionne sees an opportunity to turn the ENTIRE ELECTION into a referendum on something anything other than obamy’s record.

      Thank you RoveRomney.

    • tranquil.night

      Well, exactly, it was the perception that Perry and Newt’s characterization of Romney’s record was an attack on Capitalism which began the discussion on the merits of the different type of capitalism. Mitt’s camp and the chorus around him are who flung the anti-capitalist accusation rather than producing what an equity manager writing at Fortune had to do.

      One of our main points for the past couple of days has been that not all capitalism is created equal. I only think that’s an attack if your point of view is such that you’re willing to discard the truth out of fear of letting Democrats quote you as propoganda for their ruinous agenda. Government is people. Corporations are people. It shouldn’t be a sin or a sudden embrace of Statism to say that free people are going to abuse freedom sometimes, whether it be in private or public practice, but especially in government where there’s such power, or whether it be inside or outside what’s legal, moral or ethical. Liberals do it every day without restraint of conscience. Our Founders got it and crafted what they hoped could be the basis for a bulwark against this aspect of human nature for eras to come. What I thought we Conservatives strive for an environment where people are (mostly) free to strive for success no matter their interests, talents, and passions within the extent of the law and the extent that the capital markets can afford to fuel new investment. And while useful idiots like Dionne would argue that it’s because the ‘laws are written by the corporate lobbyists’ that’s the reason everybody but the wealthy are suffering, we argue that it’s a combination of government overreach – political and judicial activism on behalf of unions, over taxation, a screwed up tax code, etc which drive the corporations to HAVE to hire the lobbyists to PROTECT THEMSELVES. The wealthy, successful and powerful have a lot more means to insure themselves against pain and continue growing their wealth in bad times. But every time the Democrats employ the government to intervene in the name of protecting the “little guy” and getting even with the successful, both are who end up getting shafted ultimately, but especially the “little guy.” And the Democrats use that to fuel more demand for government control; the downward spiral continues.

      What troubles me the more I learn about the Bain business record and model is that it’s exactly the type which would be wildly successful in Postmodern Socialist Ameritopia, and it’d be one of the only one’s – in that the moneymen are the only one’s left with any real opportunity to generate wealth anymore, and they’re doing it mainly through outsourcing and consolidating industries decaying under the command and control state crusading in the name of social justice and saving the environment, rather than innovation, entrepreneurship, new producers, etc. It just reeks of national decline and sure enough that’s how it was going to be capitalized on by the Left, through Occupy and class warfare. He just fits their every caricature which arises logical questions about electability, whether it’s fair to him or not.

      It could be different if he had a truly authentic ideological core with which to spontaneously and articulately defend himself, and produce a boldly different vision from where we’re at. Instead, it was his vicious and subversive campaign which provoked the scorched earth tactics. The reforms he does go out on a ledge to propose already concede the argument on several areas of ‘fixes’ which are ultimately redistributionary. And when he tried to explain his skillset as a venture capitalist, he ended up validating the premise of venture socialism instead, maybe because a Bain affiliate ended up consulting the regime on the auto-takeover/restructing or maybe not.

      Like you said Pro. A Tinkerer.

  4. Reality Bytes

    SAN TOR UM!!!

    • proreason

      might be worth a think

      I’ve resisted him because he got blown out in his last campaign for Senator in 2006, but it turns out he won a number of tough elections when the winds were against him…and without foresaking his principles. Pennsylvania was also heavily blue at that time. McLame lost by a similar margin in 2008.

      Even so, I wonder if anybody has won the Presidency after being beaten that badly in his home state in a major election.

    • tranquil.night

      The biggest risk for Santorum I’ve always felt would be the propensity for the Left to go full throttle on the Culture Wars as they would Class Warfare against Romney, how well he’s equipped to fight that, and how receptive the general public is going to be to the more values and morality based message, especially when he’s expressed opinions and positions that are going to be construed as social extremism, Big Government/Compassionate Conservatism, ‘pro-life Statism,’ etc.

      As far as his comprehensive worldview goes and how that manifests itself towards the proper role of government, it’s probably closer to my own than anyone else out there, and he’s nailed some unique points better than any other candidate, like why he feels it’s important to maintain and boost tax deductions for traditional families amidst the Tax Reform discussion.

      I just don’t know how politically optimal they are (Faith & Family) as the centerpiece of a campaign message when we’re trying to minimize points on which the country can be further divided and stress the points on which the Left has already divided people and harmed the country.

      Sometimes I fear that in many respects we’ve already lost the Culture Wars, and now what we’re hoping to preserve if anything is our economic and Constitutional heritage as well. Right now you can’t question the ethics of government because everything government does is For Your Own Good, and you can’t question the ethics of corporations, because everything coporations do are For Your Own Good. So don’t throw yourself into all these battles unless it’s truly in your heart to win the fight. Amazingly Rick is one of the few people out there who actually is genuine, knowledgeable, and persuasive with his social stances, so I’m not as afraid of that as I used to be given where we are now in the primary and the country.

      Still, if that’s who Conservatives rally around and are somehow able to launch to the convention, what with Newt and Perry having now drawn the mortal ire of pretty much every big voice of Conservatism, then I will be thousands of times happier trying to storm the Hill under Santorum leadership than Romney. You have to respect someone who at the very least can engage in public life and get through holding onto some semblance of their beliefs.

  5. proreason

    Fortune shoots down much of the anti-Bain video.

    http://ace.mu.nu/archives/325573.php

    Ace has had the best and most balanced review of all of this. Most of the other writers and bloggers take a stand one way of the other (usually, the other).

    Fortune claims 2 of the 4 transactions in the video happened without any involvement of Romney at all, and the bad stuff wasn’t even when the businesses were controlled by Bain. They downplay Romey’s role in the bad stuff in a 3rd transaction as well.

    The Fortume report seems credible, but you never know. The guy who wrote it appears to be the magazine’s private equity specialist. If he is, he has a built-in agenda. The makers of the video are likely to respond. The people in the video mention Romney a lot, but maybe their memories are flawed or maybe their comments were editted. We’ll probably hear more. There could be multiple rounds. And don’t be surprised if the marxists have 10 times as much information, including disposistions, documents and more film.

    To me, there is now lots of evidence of Romney’s questionable ethics, going all the way back to his Senate campaign. The Bain stories are the piece de resistance, but hardly the whole story about the guy. One thing at least is for sure. He’s no Ronald Reagan figure.


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