• With: Newt Gingrich


    VAN SUSTEREN: And did you warn them?

    GINGRICH: Look, you could see in conversations, particularly by 2007, that the loan standards were becoming absurd. That was just -- that was patently obvious. What you couldn't see was that the Federal Reserve would tighten up in a way that you suddenly had a huge credit crunch. And I think that's a very different part of the problem.

    I don't think anybody, whether the chairman of the Federal Reserve or the Council of Economic Advisers or other folks -- there were very few people who saw the intensity of the housing problem as it broke loose.

    There were some people. Peter Wallace is a good example at the American Enterprise Institute, who had for a long time been warning that these government-sponsored enterprises were too big, that they were too overleveraged and that they need to be reformed. And Peter Wallace is probably as good an analyst today of what needs to be done now to repair the system and to get out of the mess we're in as anybody I know. But he was a relatively rare voice in that period.

    VAN SUSTEREN: All right, compare and contrast the difference -- you received money, or Gingrich Group received money for strategic advice. You've also been very critical of President Obama receiving substantial amounts of money from Fannie Mae -- Fannie and Freddie contributions from the executives in 2008. You've said it on Hannity's show and you've said it to me here on "On the Record."

    What is the difference between the criticism you've made of President Obama getting substantial campaign contributions to help Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- or maybe not to help them, but -- and what you did?

    GINGRICH: Well, the difference is that under the leadership of Barney Frank and Chris Dodd in the Congress and of the president, those institutions have gotten $156 billion of taxpayers' money.

    I was a private citizen. I didn't -- I was not involved in doing any of these things, and I wasn't involved -- and in fact, if you go back and ask Congressman Rick Lazio, when he brought up the housing reform bill in 1996, I strongly backed him in reforming housing.

    As he sent me a note yesterday, at no time did I mention Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to him or bring any kind of involvement to him to do anything along that line. I was very supportive of housing reform.

    So there's a huge difference between what you do when you're in public office and you're dealing with the public trust and what you do as a private business person who has no direct power and no direct responsibility and you're sitting there offering advice.

    I was being paid to offer a series of -- and I did this, as I said a while ago, at a number of companies who would come in and ask for advice on a wide range of things. And as long as they were topics that I was interested in and topics that I cared about, I was very happy to share ideas with people.

    What I didn't do and would not do is I didn't go and lobby the Congress. I didn't go and lobby the executive branch. I didn't try to represent any position I didn't believe in beforehand. And I think that's a very big difference between being a lobbyist and being a strategic consultant.

    VAN SUSTEREN: I suppose you've seen that Congressman Barney Frank has taken some tough swipes at you in the last day or two. You smile.

    GINGRICH: Well, of course, he has. Look, Barney Frank...

    VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you say that? I mean, why do you say "of course he has"?

    GINGRICH: Barney Frank -- Barney Frank doesn't believe in the business community. He doesn't believe in the private sector. He thinks everything is the same. So he thinks that what he does as a congressman in charge of writing a bill is the same as what a private citizen does, and vice versa. And it just tells you how far to the left Barney Frank's thinking is.

    I don't think he has a clue what it's like to run a normal business or to meet a payroll or to be out in the marketplace doing things that people normally do.

    But if you check -- and you know this, Greta, because you've been in this business. If you check around for people who do strategic planning for corporations, people who offer long-range thinking and long-range advice, our fees were in the mid-range of what people charge around this country to large corporations to help them think about their challenges, and in fact, maybe slightly below the mid-range when you talk about the really biggest corporations in America.

    VAN SUSTEREN: All right, switch topics. Occupy Wall Street -- there is -- you know, a lot of the dissension today or the last 24, 36 hours. If you were president, would you make a statement about Occupy Wall Street? Would you recommend anything?

    GINGRICH: Sure. I would recommend that every mayor in the United States enforce the law. There is no justification for violence. There's no justification for tearing up private property. There's no justification for blocking the streets and harassing innocent citizens.

    I think it's one thing to have the right of free speech. No one has the right to be a mob and no one has the right to go out and destroy property. And I think that the -- that Mayor Bloomberg and others should protect the rights of innocent citizens from thugs and mob-like people who engaged in vandalism and engaged in threats that are totally inappropriate in a free society.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Where does this go? What do you expect is going to happen in the next day or two?

    GINGRICH: The police will eventually have to arrest them. They will provoke and provoke until there's no choice, and the police will arrest them. And the question is, how many innocent people will be hurt, how much innocent property will be destroyed, how much damage will they do to the society at large.

    I mean, there's no justification -- you know, the Tea Party's met in huge numbers. And we did this today down here with the First Coast Tea Party, hundreds and hundreds of people. They picked up the trash. They were orderly. They were positive. They were there as citizens, not as mobs.

    The gap between the way Occupy Wall Street has degenerated into an anti-civilization, anti-law kind of group, and the way in which the Tea Partiers were trying to understand and study American history -- it's a startling contrast between the two groups.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Speaker Gingrich, thank you. I hope you'll come back.

    GINGRICH: Good to be with you.

    VAN SUSTEREN: It's going to be an interesting -- interesting race. Thank you, sir.

    GINGRICH: It's going to be fun. Thank you.