Factchecking the GOP Debate in Tampa with PolitiFact

TAMPA (2012-01-24) -

At the GOP debate in Tampa Monday night, Mitt Romney took off the gloves and went after Newt Gingrich for his leadership when he was House speaker and his work for mortgage-giant Freddie Mac.

PolitiFact Florida's Angie Holan has been working hard to check their competing claims...and as she tells WUSF's Scott Finn, one of them did much better than the other.

Here are some excerpts from PolitiFact's checking of the debate. See the whole thing here.

1. Gingrich began the debate with a spirited defense of his record as speaker of the House of Representatives. He repeated a claim we've heard before, that "When I was speaker, we had four consecutive balanced budgets." In fact, two of those balanced budgets occured after he left office. We rated that claim False.

2. Gingrich sought to downplay his work for Freddie Mac, the government-chartered mortgage company, by saying it was a government-sponsored enterprise just like credit unions and rural electrical co-operatives. We checked and found the list of GSEs is actually quite small and does not include credit unions and electrical co-ops. Pants on Fire!

3. Romney also criticized Gingrich for his consulting work at Freddie Mac, the mortgage loan giant. Romney said Gingrich's contract was with the lobbyists at Freddie Mac. We looked at the 2006 contract the Gingrich campaign released the night of the debate and concluded Romney was right. We rated his statement True.

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