Note: This is the first Guest Post by Bryan Jacoutot, a law student at John Marshall Law School in Atlanta, GA.:
Although the November 9th Republican Presidential Debate in Michigan is now over a month passed, one critical line said by Newt Gingrich is still at the forefront of the minds of many.
During the debate, a question was posed to Gingrich regarding his 2006 relationship with the mortgage lending giant, Freddie Mac. Debate moderator Ewen MacAskill asked about the $300,000 his company, the Gingrich Group, was paid that year by Freddie Mac. Gingrich responded (italics added):
“I have never done any lobbying, every contract that was written during the period when I was out of the office specifically said I would do no lobbying, and I offered advice. And my advice as a historian, when they walked in and said to me, we are now making loans to people who have no credit history and have no record of paying back anything, but that’s what the government wants us to do, is I said — I said to them at the time: This is a bubble. This insane. This is impossible.”
Since that exchange, critics from all sides have attempted to morph what Gingrich said at the debate into a statement that Gingrich was hired to be a historian, as opposed to bringing his knowledge as a historian to bear on his consulting.
Such claims have uniformly twisted exactly what was said by Gingrich in the debate, giving rise to a kind of urban legend, that Gingrich said he was paid by Freddie Mac to be a historian.
Perhaps most notably, Governor Romney recently claimed in an interview that if Gingrich was indeed acting as a historian, then he is the “highest paid historian in history.”
Romney and the others know better. But perhaps that is too much nuance to expect at this point.