Did 'Language of the Ghetto' Gaffe Hurt Newt's Politics or His Business?

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Fri Apr 6 13:30:44 UTC 2007

 Newt's Sorta Mea Culpa:

Did 'Language of the Ghetto' Gaffe Hurt Newt's Politics or His Business?

    WASHINGTON, April 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --

After calling Spanish the "language of the ghetto" in his latest
inflammatory speech on immigration, Newt Gingrich yesterday released a
Spanish language video attempting to clarify his remarks. While Gingrich
refused to apologize, he revealed that, "for some time now, I have been
personally taking Spanish language lessons in order to learn Spanish. In
addition, the president and spokesperson of my organization, Gingrich
Communications, have also learned Spanish."

    The revelation that Newt and his Gingrich Communications partners are
learning Spanish -- and the fact that Gingrich Communications is part of
the web of speaking engagements, for-profit think tanks, and PACs that is
making Gingrich a very rich man -- raises questions about Gingrich's
reasons for almost apologizing. Was his over-the-top rhetoric about
immigrants threatening his political aspirations or his business

    "Somebody must have told Team Gingrich that bashing America's 45
million Hispanics isn't a good political or business model," said
Democratic National Committee spokesman Damien LaVera. "Newt is going to
have a hard time bringing in the huge speaking fees and million dollar
checks if he keeps basing his potential White House bid on offensive
language that riles up the Tancredo/Hunter anti-immigrant wing of the
Republican Party, but offends his corporate sponsors' customers."

                            Gingrich's Real Agenda

    Newt's Corporate Speaking Fees, Think Tank "Making Him Rich." "Eight
years after stepping down as House Speaker, Gingrich runs a for-profit
think tank, the Center for Health Transformation, that promotes his ideas
while ensuring a handsome living for the former public servant...[T]he
center offers policy ideas to companies that want to get health-care costs
off their backs but oppose government-imposed, universal-health-insurance
plans as costly and burdensome. The center's roster of 75 clients is
impressive, including insurers Blue Cross & Blue Shield and GE Healthcare,
providers like the American Hospital Association, and employers like GM
and Ford. Clients pay fees ranging from $10,000 to $200,000 a year. Along
with lecture fees of $50,000 a speech, at the rate of about 60 per year,
Mr. Speaker's new career is making him rich." [Fortune, 1/22/07]

    "Gingrich Using Health Care Think Tank to Shill for Corporate Backers"
The Philadelphia Inquirer highlighted Gingrich's use of his health care
think tank to promote the business interests of one of its corporate
backers. Through his Center for Health Transformation, Gingrich has been
calling for the creation of a national electronic medical network that
would, in his words, contain an "electronic health record for every
person" that would "start with prenatal care and end with analytics after
you passed away." As the Inquirer pointed out, the center is backed by
Siemens, who has been "trying to boost its presence in the
electronic-medical-record market." [Philadelphia Inquirer, 1/21/07]

    Newt Calls Early Campaign Fundraising "Stupid," While Raking in
Millions for PAC that Could Support Campaign. Gingrich has consistently
complained about the early start of the 2008 presidential race and the
massive fundraising it entails, even calling it "stupid." [Dallas Morning
News, 3/8/07] All the while, however, Newt has been raising cash for his
527 group American Solutions for Winning the Future. Since its formation
in October 2006, Newt has raised $2.1 million. While it would be illegal
for Gingrich to use the money for a presidential campaign, the "the group
can pay for salaries, Gingrich's travel, office space, fund-raising,
direct mail, television and radio ads and the like... In other words, it
can fund the foundation for a campaign before there is one." [The
Politico, 3/21/07]

    Paid for and authorized by the Democratic National Committee,
http://www.democrats.org. This communication is not authorized by any
candidate or candidate's committee.



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