“I think it basically goes in one ear — and a voter says ‘Wow, that’s a lot of money, he’s making a lot of money’ — and then it goes out the other ear,” Dennehy observes. “It’s a sophisticated issue. So, most voters aren’t going to be able to connect the dots between his consulting fee and the scandal surrounding Freddie Mac.”
But while voters may be unmoved by Gingrich’s Freddie connection, campaigns could use it as a way to highlight Gingrich’s seeming tendency “to contain multitudes,” as it were. After all, Gingrich hasn’t been quiet about those who allowed the Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae scandal to happen. In an October debate, he insinuated that former Democratic senator Chris Dodd and Democratic congressman Barney Frank should go to jail for their role in the debacle.
As for Gingrich’s rivals, the Freddie Mac reminders could serve yet another purpose: getting Gingrich to lose his cool.
The ex-speaker, who had pledged last week to stay “positive” on the campaign trail, wasted little time in responding to Romney’s request that he return the Freddie Mac money.
“If Governor Romney would like to give back all the money he’s earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years at Bain, then I would be glad to then listen to him,” Gingrich told reporters. “And I will bet you $10, not $10,000, that he won’t take the offer.”
— Katrina Trinko is an NRO reporter.