Mitt mocks and socks Newt before big Naples crowdby George Bennett | January 29th, 2012
The crowd at a downtown retail area topped 2,000, one Naples police officer estimated.
Former U.S. Sen. Connie Mack and his son, U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Cape Coral, introduced Romney at the midday event. Romney campaigns later today in Hialeah and Pompano Beach.
Romney, who dominated a pair of GOP debates last week, accused Gingrich of being “like Goldilocks” because he complained a Monday night debate crowd was ordered to be silent and one of his aides said the Romney camp “packed the room” for a louder Thursday debate.
“He’s now finding excuses everywhere he can. He’s on TV this morning going from station to station complaining about what he thinks are the reasons he’s had difficulty here in Florida,” Romney said.
“My own view is the reason that Speaker Gingrich has been having a hard time in Florida is the people of Florida have watched the debates, have listened to the Speaker, have listened to the other candidates and said, ‘You know what? Mitt Romney’s the guy we’re going to support.’ “
After Gingrich scored a big victory in South Carolina’s Jan. 21 primary, Romney arrived in Florida the next day and began hammering Gingrich’s work as a consultant for troubled mortgage giant Freddie Mac. Gingrich’s firm got $1.6 million for what Gingrich describes as strategic advice and Romney insists was lobbying.
“The fact that you had Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae guaranteeing mortgages in some cases of people who couldn’t possibly pay them back, that contributed to the kind of crisis you see here. And at the time some people were standing up and saying we need to reform this system, Speaker Gingrich was being paid $1.6 million to stand up and do what he did, which was to say these programs should continue the way they are, these institutions are fine,” Romney said.
“So Mr. Speaker, your trouble in Florida is not because the audience is too quiet or too loud or because you have opponents that are tough. Your problem in Florida is that you worked for Freddie Mac at a time when Freddie Mac was not doing the right thing for the American people and you were selling influence in Washington.”