Des Moines Iowa

December 17, 2011 by staff 

Des Moines Iowa, Mitt Romney predicted Saturday that conservative voters will reject GOP presidential rival Newt Gingrich as they learn more about the former House speaker’s lengthy Washington record. Gingrich acknowledged to Iowa supporters that attacks have taken their toll as he’s risen to be Romney’s chief challenger.

Romney campaigned in early voting South Carolina, where tea party activists have given Gingrich a strong lead in polls. Romney told reporters that many voters now are just beginning to pay attention to the race and will turn on Gingrich after they learn about his time in Washington and his role with mortgage company Freddie Mac, a quasi-government agency.

Gingrich’s consulting firm collected $1.6 million from the company.

“I think as tea partyers concentrate on that, for instance, they’ll say, ‘Wow, this really isn’t the guy that would represent our views,’” Romney said after a town hall meeting with South Carolina Rep. Tim Scott. “Many tea party folks, I believe, are going to find me to be the ideal candidate.”

Gingrich, speaking on a conference call from Washington, said the attacks on his record have been brutal, but he insisted they are exaggerated.

“I just want to set the record straight,” Gingrich told Iowa supporters. “We were paid annually for six years, so the numbers you see are six years of work. Most of that money went to pay overhead — for staff, for other things. It didn’t go directly to me. It went to the company that provided consulting advice.”

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