"$20 Million a Year of No Work"

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 25 2012 12:17 PM

"$20 Million a Year of No Work"

Matthew Jaffee reports on Newt Gingrich's Univision interview, with birthed a brand new Gingrich attack line. This, in itself, is unsurprising. Gingrich can come up with four new attacks in the time it takes me to shamble across the street and buy coffee.* But this one, a response to Romney's "self-deportation" dodge on immigration, is something special.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

I think you have to live in a world of Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island accounts and automatic — you know, $20 million a year of no work — to have a fantasy this far from reality. For Romney to believe that somebody’s grandmother is going to be so cut off that she is going to self deport. I mean, this is an Obama-level fantasy.

In a vacuum, this would be interesting enough. It's not coming in a vacuum. Gingrich has spent two weeks attacking Mitt Romney's career as a public equity captain and a co-founder of Bain Capital. He's dropping the subtlety now, and making an argument that plucks the middle class voter's heartstring: That rich jerk doesn't even work for a living. 

Santorum's been saying this, too. At the final South Carolina debate, he offered a quick, little-noticed diss of Romney's career.

I believe in capitalism, too. I believe in capitalism for everybody, not necessarily high finance but capitalism that works for the working men and women of this country.

At this week's Tampa debate, Gingrich brought back the "F" word. "He may have been a good financier," he said, mocking a Romney attack, "but he's a terrible historian."

Swiss bank account. No Work. High finance. Financier. The Club for Growth is losing its fight to keep populism out of the GOP campaign.

*Slate world HQ has a coffee machine, but the options nearby are more than competitive.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


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