• With: Newt Gigrich, former speaker of the House

    GINGRICH: Well, look. I think he spent six years running for president. He put up $40 million of his own money. Up to last week, he thought he knew exactly what was going to happen. All of the sudden, he loses South Carolina.

    We set the all-time record. We carried 43 out of 46 counties. People of South Carolina came together. They said Newt Gingrich can debate Barack Obama and win the presidency. And they said Mitt Romney is by standards of Republicans, a liberal. He was pro-gun control, pro-abortion, pro-tax increases as governor. And so he lost.

    I think what we have is a very rattled Romney campaign which is floundering and they don't have any way to build him up because they can't talk about his record as governor. They can't talk about what he did during the Reagan-Bush years because he reputed them. He voted for Paul Tsongas in the Democratic primary in 1992. He gave money to Democrats in 1992.

    So, he can't go back and complete with me. So, all he is doing now is piling on as much mud as he can find to see if he can somehow drown the Gingrich campaign. And when you have 6,000 people at Naples as we did last night, I don't think he is going to be very successful stopping the people of Florida from voting for a conservative.



    MITT ROMNEY, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have Congressmen who also said that you came and lobbied them in favor. You have Congressmen who say that you came and lobbied them with regards to Medicare Part D. At the same time your center was taking contributions.

    GINGRICH: You jumped a long way over here, friend.

    I am proud of the fact that I publicly openly advocated Medicaid Part D. It has saved lives. It's run on a free enterprise model and also included health savings account and include Medicare alternatives, which gave people choices. And I did it publicly and it's not correct, Mitt. Understand this flatly because you've been walking around the state saying things that are not true. It's not correct to describe public citizenship have been publicly advocacy as lobbying. Every citizen has the right to do that. And what I did on behalf of Medicare, I did out in the open publicly. And that is my right as a citizen.


    HANNITY: Alright, that was part of the back and forth between Governor Mitt Romney and former speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich during the NBC debate earlier this week. And we continue with presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich.

    Alright. These are serious charges. Did you ever lobby, because you said no, I gave advice. I consulted --

    GINGRICH: No, no.

    HANNITY: My group consulted with Freddie. I think this is important. Go ahead.

    GINGRICH: They said release the contracts. We went back and got the contracts back all the way to 1999 and guess what they said, no, lobbying. Oh, then that didn't count. We brought in an expert to teach all of our folks what was lobbying and what wasn't because we were determined that no one who worked for us would ever lobby. That doesn't count.

    The only I time was ever cited by a newspaper for talking at members of Congress about Freddie Mac was in New York Times in July of 2008 when I told the House Republicans vote no. Now, at some point this becomes an absurdity.

    On the other hand, we discovered Mitt Romney owns stock in both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Mitt Romney put a Freddie Mac lobbyist in a commercial attacking me. Mitt Romney's campaign manager worked for a company that got $2 million from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to stop the regulations. You know, he's surrounded by senior advisers who are lobbyists for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

    The absolute gall of Mitt Romney surrounding himself with all these lobbyists, owning stock in the companies, and then fabricate ago charge which is factually false, I think demeans the entire process of running for president.

    HANNITY: I asked Governor Romney this last night and the ethics charges -- I know it took three years but you were exonerated of every charge, correct?

    GINGRICH: Right. This is why you have the facts, OK? The senior counselor to the ethics committee has said flatly what Romney is saying isn't true. If you go back and read the record. By the way, all 1,300 pages are available online.

    So, if you go back and read the record, you will find out I never paid a fine. I paid the expense of the investigation because my lawyer made a mistake. Every one of the 84 charges filed by the Democrats was thrown out. A U.S. judge said I was right. The Federal Election Commission said I was right. The Internal Revenue Service said I was right. Romney's staff knows that. They just decided that telling truth they would mean they would lose the election. So they gave up telling the truth in order to try to win.

    HANNITY: I know this is -- these are unprecedented times. There never has been a time when a different candidate won the Iowa caucuses, New Hampshire and South Carolina primary. Usually one of the winners of either Iowa and New Hampshire would go on and win South Carolina and become the nominee.

    So, this is -- historically speaking from the 1980s, this is really new terrain and new territory. And we've seen the up and down in the polls here. It seems though with all of these charges now going back and forth. And you are now hitting back hard with your ads against Governor Romney. You know, I know a lot of people are writing me and they are concerned that at the end of this process, one of you is going to be facing Barack Obama and is this going to be united party in the end. Will differences -- is this just part of the process, maybe we're getting in the silly season a little bit. People just need understand this is how it's going to be from now until whenever the nominee is picked?

    GINGRICH: Well, I think when you get down to a nominee. And our choices, whichever Republican, I hope will be me, but whichever Republican's nominated and Barack Obama, that choice will be so gigantic. That everybody will rally to the Republican candidate. And I think that is probably what will happen.

    But in the interim, as you point out, this is unprecedented. And if you add together the conservative candidates, it's clear that governor Romney can't get anywhere close to a majority. So, part of what's happening is -- I was delighted and very grateful to Governor Perry when he dropped out and he endorsed me. I was very grateful when Governor Palin said the other night that if she went to South Carolina, she would vote for me. I'm delighted that Michael Reagan has endorsed me.

    Gradually, as the conservatives come together, I think that the fact that Romney is a Massachusetts moderate, which means in the Republican caucus or Republican primary, he a liberal. And I think that was a huge weight. When people learn about his pro-abortion, pro-tax increase, pro-gun control record in Massachusetts, real record now, not speeches, not commercials, I think that he has a very hard time winning Republican primaries.

    HANNITY: Latest charge is that you insulted Ronald Reagan.


    GINGRICH: You know, let's look at that period. Governor Romney was against Ronald Reagan. Governor Romney said in 1994 Senate race, he was opposed going back to Reagan-Bush policies. Governor Romney was giving money to Democrats and voting for the most liberal Democrat in 1992 presidential race.

    For them to come back and try to fabricate, I mean, ask Michael Reagan who was there. Ask Tony Dolan who for eight years was Ronald Reagan's chief speech writer. Ask people who where, for example, the national security adviser, Bud McFarland, for five years who worked with me.

    This is the kind of fundamentally dishonest campaign. Governor Romney cannot defend his record, he can't defend his past. He can't defend what he has done. And so, his goal is to somehow throw enough mud at me. And I think it's all going wash off because American people are smart enough.

    I first met with Reagan in 1974 and campaigned with him in 1980. I helped him for eight years while he was president. I made a movie about him. I have written a book about him. To suggest that Governor Romney is more Reagan-like than I am, is an act of total fantasy.

    HANNITY: Alright. It's going to go on. Mr. Speaker, thank you for being with us tonight. I have a funny feeling this may go on for a few more states. I'm just guessing. Thanks for being with us.

    GINGRICH: Thank you.

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