Washington – Mitt Romney ramped up his criticism of Newt Gingrich on Monday, calling the former House speaker a Washington insider lobbyist, questioning his leadership, and demanding he release records tied to both a previous ethics investigation and work done for housing giant Freddie Mac.
Romney also demanded Gingrich return roughly $1.6 million earned from a contract with Freddie Mac, and ridiculed Gingrich’s insistence that the work amounted to little more than “strategic” advice, as opposed to lobbying.
“Saying that New Gingrich is a lobbyist is just a matter of fact. … If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck,” Romney told reporters in Tampa, Florida. “We could see an October surprise a day from Newt Gingrich. Let’s see the records.”
Romney’s critique of his resurgent GOP rival was part of an effort to blunt momentum from Gingrich’s win in Saturday’s South Carolina primary. The former Massachusetts governor is expected to continue his new rhetorical offensive in Monday night’s Republican presidential debate, and throughout the runup to the January 31 Florida primary.
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