The Republican primary contest is nearing its first real battle. The debates have been skirmishes, but as the time approaches when voters get to weigh in, paid media, phone calls, door knocking, and all the other armaments of political combat come into play. And, just so, the gloves come off between the combatants.
Yesterday, the two front runners, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich traded barbs. Romney called on Gingrich to return the $1.6 million he received from Freddie Mac, the quasi-public home mortgage lender. Gingrich responded by calling on Romney to return “all the money he’s earned bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years.” This is a debate Gingrich does not want to join: It is a debate he must avoid, but it may be too late.
You know that Gingrich is at least a little embarrassed about having been paid so much money by Freddie Mac because, when the issue first surfaced, he said he had been paid as an “historian.” That is pretty laughable. As Romney said yesterday, “That would make him the highest-paid historian in history.”