Washington Extra – Timed release

January 23, 2012

Right before Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich tangle in tonight’s debate, we are supposed to get details of Gingrich’s work for troubled mortgage giant Freddie Mac from his former consulting firm.

The disclosure could shed light on what work Gingrich did in exchange for $ 1.6 million in consulting fees. What it for his historical acumen, as he has claimed, or his influence in Washington, as rivals for the Republican presidential nomination charge?

It could be interesting fodder for the debate if it comes out by 9 pm EST. Or it might just disappear in the heavy news flowing from the debate, which suggests the former consulting firm is doing Gingrich a favor by coming out at this strategic time.

Speaking of strategic timing, isn’t that what Romney is doing by releasing his taxes on Tuesday, the same day that President Obama delivers the State of the Union?

Here are our top stories from Washington…

Romney puts Gingrich on defensive before debate

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney sharpened his attacks on rival Newt Gingrich’s business past and character ahead of a crucial debate. Romney blasted Gingrich as an erratic politician who has switched positions “almost like a pinball machine,” in a toughening of rhetoric to try to halt his rival’s surprising momentum. After losing the South Carolina primary badly, Romney challenged Gingrich to return $1.6 million in consulting fees from Freddie Mac and detail the work he performed for the troubled mortgage giant.

For more of this story by Steve Holland, read here.

For a Q+A on what Romney’s tax returns might contain, click here.

Details of Gingrich work for Freddie Mac to emerge

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s former consulting firm will release details of his work for troubled mortgage firm Freddie Mac on Monday, according to a company spokeswoman.

For more of this story by Andy Sullivan, read here.

Obama to deliver budget on Feb. 13, delayed one week

President Obama will release his 2013 budget proposal on February 13, delaying by a week the outline of his spending priorities. Congress is free to ignore Obama’s suggestions and Republicans are likely to declare it dead on arrival. The budget is supposed to be released on the first Monday in February. Republicans complained that delaying it by a week showed an “abdication of leadership” by the president.

For more of this story by Alister Bull, read here.

House Republican budget to seek Medicare reforms

Republicans in the House of Representatives will put forward a budget plan this year that will seek substantial reforms to health benefits for the elderly and make aggressive strides toward reducing deficits, a senior lawmaker said. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said he wanted his budget plan to offer voters an alternative vision to the “cradle-to-grave welfare state” that he says President Obama is promoting.

For more of this story by David Lawder, read here.

Senator Paul refuses airport patdown after alarm

Republican Senator Rand Paul was stopped at an airport for setting off an alarm and refusing a patdown, prompting his father, presidential candidate Ron Paul, to accuse security officials of being part of an “out of control” police state. In a harshly worded attack, Ron Paul, known for his strident libertarian views, said the TSA “gropes and grabs our kids and our seniors and does nothing to keep us safe.”

For more of this story by Thomas Ferraro and John Crawley, read here.

For more stories from our Washington correspondents visit www.reuters.com and stay informed.


Photo Credit: REUTERS/Steve Nesius (Gingrich and wife Calista at rally in Tampa)

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