Tales from the Trail

Gingrich cites Soros in attempt to paint Romney as “liberal”

When renowned investor George Soros referred to Newt Gingrich as an “extremist conservative” last week, he didn’t mean it as a compliment. But that hasn’t stopped Gingrich from wearing it as a mark of honor.

In an interview from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Soros told Reuters Digital Editor Chrystia Freeland that in his view there wouldn’t be “all that much difference” between President Obama and a President Romney. But an “extremist conservative” like Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum, he said, “would make a big difference.”

Gingrich, fighting to close the gap with frontrunner Mitt Romney a day ahead of the Florida primary, seized on his words, starting with an appearance on Good Morning America. Gingrich told host George Stephanopoulos that Soros “said publicly, in a Reuters interview on video, that he’s perfectly happy with either Obama or Romney, that they’re the same people. Minor differences. He said, ‘Gingrich, now, that would be real change.’”

“There are a lot of parallels between these two guys. Romneycare and Obamacare are essentially the same,” Gingrich said. “In the long run, the Republican Party is not going to nominate the founder of Romneycare, a liberal Republican who is pro-abortion, pro-gun control, and pro-tax increases. It ain’t gonna happen.”

Gingrich repeated the point at campaign events throughout the day, first in Jacksonville: “George Soros in Europe yesterday said it makes no difference to us whether it’s Romney or Obama, we can live with either one. But not Gingrich, that would be a real threat,’” Gingrich said. “It’s so perfect you’d think we made it up.’’

Wall Street ponies up for Obama inauguration

It’s been a brutal year for Wall Street, but the high rollers apparently still love a big, expensive party.

People who work in the finance industry have given at least $4.8 million to underwrite Barack Obama’s inauguration party, more than any other business sector, according to an analysis by the watchdog Center for Responsive Politics.CALVIN KLEIN

Obama’s team appears to have reached the $40 million goal it set to pay for the festivities. Roughly $6.8 million has come from those giving less than $200, according to the committee. But large donors have given at least $35 million.