Newt Gingrich Republican Debate

January 24, 2012 by staff 

Newt Gingrich Republican DebateNewt Gingrich Republican Debate, Republican presidential candidates, from left, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, take part in a GOP debate Monday, at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Fla., as moderator Brian Williams of NBC News listens.
In a bid to retake the lead for the Republican presidential nomination, Mr. Romney went after Newt Gingrich Monday night for his controversial tenure as speaker of the House, lucrative consulting for mortgage giant Freddie Mac, and other work Romney derided as “influence-peddling.”

Mr. Gingrich fought back, but without the verve that fueled his decisive victory over Romney in last Saturday’s South Carolina primary. The GOP debate in Tampa, the first of two before Florida’s Jan. 31 primary, was generally a subdued affair, without the raucous audience reactions of previous faceoffs. But Romney landed plenty of blows.

“I learned something from that last contest in South Carolina, and that was I had incoming from all directions, was overwhelmed with a lot of the attacks,” said Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts. “And I’m not going to sit back and get attacked day in and day out without returning fire.”

Within hours, though, Romney buried his own debate headlines by putting out his 2010 and 2011 tax returns – a treasure trove of financial data on one of the wealthiest presidential contenders in history. Romney and his wife, Ann, reported income of $21.7 million in 2010 and $20.9 million in 2011, according to a preview provided to the Washington Post late Monday.

Because most of that income came from investments, the Romneys’ effective tax rate was well below that of most Americans, who work for a living. In 2010, the rate was 13.9 percent and in 2011, 15.4 percent.

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