White House hopeful Newt Gingrich suggested in a GOP presidential debate tonight that Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), the architects of 2010’s sweeping financial overhaul law, ought to be imprisoned.
Saying that “the fix has been in” under the administrations of both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the former Speaker said it was reasonable for Americans to be angry but that they should direct their anger at the federal government instead of Wall Street banks.
Gingrich was responding to an earlier question to Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) about whether it was right that no Wall Street executives had gone to jail for the 2008 financial crisis. The Georgia Republican indicated that Frank and Dodd should be behind bars.
“And if you want to put people in jail — I want to second what Michele said — you ought to start with Barney Frank and Chris Dodd,” Gingrich said, referencing Bachmann’s response that the economic crisis can be traced to the federal government. “And let’s look at the politicians who created the environment, the politicians who profited from the environment and the politicians who put this country in trouble.”
Moderator Charlie Rose seemed a bit surprised.
“Clearly you’re not saying they should go to jail?” he asked.
“In Chris Dodd’s case, go back and look at the Countryside deals,” Gingrich said, meaning to refer to Countrywide Financial.
“In Barney Frank’s case, go back and look at the lobbyists he was close to at, at, at, uh at, uh, Freddie Mac,” he said, groping for the right word.
Asked for comment tonight, Frank released a statement to Roll Call.
“In fact, Chris Dodd and I were in the minority from 1995 until 2006, so Gingrich is blaming us for Republican failures,” Frank said. “I think that a man like Newt Gingrich who is as impressed as he is with his own intellect is a little unsettled by the fact that he is running behind Michele Bachmann in the polls.”
In a recent Washington Post-Bloomberg poll of Americans, 6 percent said they wanted Bachmann to be the GOP nominee while just 3 percent supported Gingrich.