Subject: Gingrich says loan plan makes him feel 'liberated'
House Speaker Newt Gingrich is downplaying criticism of his plan to borrow from Bob Dole to pay his ethics fine. He says he feels "liberated" to focus on his bigger agenda now.
Gingrich (R-Ga.) addressed a friendly crowd at a Republican convention in his home district Saturday morning.
The speaker is borrowing $300,000 from former GOP presidential nominee Bob Dole, to be repaid at 10 percent annual interest over the next eight years.
"I think we did the right thing in the right way," Gingrich said.
Democrats have criticized the deal, suggesting the speaker would be beholden to Dole. Dole, the former Senate majority leader, was recently hired by a Washington law firm which represents clients who do business with the government.
"Trying to decide what was right and trying to execute it the right way took a substantial focus," Gingrich said. "I feel, in that sense, liberated to focus back now on the bigger agenda and on re-establishing where we are going in terms of our vision of a better world and a better America."
Gingrich accused some Democrats of focusing too much of their attention on personalities.
"I think you've got a small band of destructive people who decided that being the anti-Newt party is their role in life," Gingrich said. "I think it's a tremendously narrow base for a party to be built on."
Gingrich also dismissed recent polls showing Americans skeptical about whether the House speaker did the right thing in accepting Dole's loan, claiming many Americans he meets indicate they feel differently.
A recent CNN/TIME poll indicated that 51 percent of Americans believe the loan was inappropriate.
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