In Foreclosureland, Romney rips Obama and decries Gingrich ‘influence peddling’by George Bennett | January 24th, 2012
LEHIGH ACRES — Standing in front of one of the many foreclosed homes in this Lee County community, Mitt Romney blasted President Obama‘s stewardship of the economy and slammed GOP rival Newt Gingrich for “influence peddling” for troubled mortgage giant Freddie Mac.
“This president has failed America and failed Florida,” Romney said to a crowd of about 250.
Romney appeared with a man who said he recently lost his home because of a mix-up with his bank. Romney called it an example of how banks are “overwhelmed” by the Dodd-Frank bill and other regulations.
“So banks are scared to death to write down loans for fear that it’ll make them go insolvent. Banks are having a hard time. At the very time we wanted banks to be more flexible and creative and helping people stay in their homes, banks have become less flexible, less creative, more insistent on foreclosure,” Romney said.
“The right course for America is to have a president who understands how to help our lending institutions be creative and find ways to keep people who can meet their payments stay in their homes, and I’ll do that.”
Romney also continued his blasting of Gingrich, who won Saturday’s South Carolina primary and has erased Romney’s once-huge lead in Florida. A Gingrich business received $1.6 million from Freddie Mac for consulting services that Romney says were really lobbying.
“These government sponsored entities in the case of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are a large reason why our housing crisis has occurred. And I’m running against a guy, as you know, in this primary, who was out workng for these guys, for Freddie Mac,” Romney said.
“He was standing up and defending Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and so conservatives in Congress and conservatives around the country, instead of arguing to get rid of these entities, to scale them back and let the free market work, they said, ‘Well, if Newt Gingrich thinks it’s a good idea we ought to go along with it.’ That’s what’s known as influence peddling. You get paid and then you go out and say things that influence other people….We can’t have influence peddlers leading our party.”