Mitt Romney: Newt Gingrich Is an Influence Peddler

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney
Republican Presidential candidates, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (L) and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) share a laugh during a Fox News, Wall Street Journal-sponsored debate at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, on January 16, 2012 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Voters in South Carolina will head to the polls on January 21st. to vote in the Republican primary election to pick their choice for U.S. presidential candidate. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

As expected, Romney has taken the gloves off. “I won’t sit back without returning fire,” he said, the lesson from the attacks on him in South Carolina. About halfway into the debate, Romney has called Gingrich an “influence peddler” repeatedly, referring to his involvement with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and has accused him of being a lobbyist. Gingrich defended his hiring as a “historian.” “They dont pay people 25K a month for six years as historians,” Romney said. “They weren’t hiring you as a historian.” Romney also continues to call Gingrich’s departure from the House a “disgrace.” Newt has anticipated these lines of attack and keeps swatting them away with obfuscation tactics.