Newt Gingrich appears to have a different definition of the word “historian” than, say, Webster's.
Gingrich was asked last week at a Republican debate in Michigan about his $300,000 contract to work for mortgage giant Freddie Mac five years ago. Gingrich said he was a retained as a “historian” and that he warned executives there that reckless loans would lead to collapse.
“I offered them advice on precisely what they didn’t do,” he said at the debate. “My advice as a historian, when they walked in and said to me, ‘We are now making loans to people who have no credit history and have no record of paying back anything, but that’s what the government wants us to do.’ As I said to them at the time, this is a bubble. This is insane. This is impossible.”
Bloomberg News looked into Gingrich’s claims and found no evidence that the former House speaker, then working as a private strategic consultant, ever warned the company that its business model was suspect. Instead, Gingrich was retained to try and gin up support for Freddie Mac among Republicans on Capitol Hill, although he was not hired to expressly lobby for the company. (Watch video below.)