Romney Batters Newt on Freddie Mac Connection

Romney widens lead on Gingrich's prior business dealings with Freddie Mac.

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Newt Gingrich's campaign flotilla is taking on some serious water in Florida at the hands of Mitt Romney, who has mercilessly railed on the former speaker for his connection to the much-maligned government mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

Riding his latest surge in the polls—Romney now leads Gingrich 43 percent to 29 percent, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll—Romney brought up Gingrich's work for Freddie Mac at three separate campaign events in Florida Sunday.

"Mr. Speaker, your trouble in Florida is not because the audience is too quiet or too loud, or because you have opponents that are tough," Romney said at a campaign event in Naples, Fla. "Your problem in Florida is that you worked for Freddie Mac at a time when Freddie Mac was not doing the right thing for the American people."

Romney was even more specific at another event in Hialeah, Fla. where he aligned Gingrich with the Washington insider cohort, set on profiting from the government at the expense of average Americans.

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"I think the reason that you find it hard to connect with the speaker is that you know over the last 15 years he's been in Washington and he's been working for people like Freddie Mac," Romney said, underscoring Gingrich's fat $1.6 million paycheck from the government-sponsored enterprise. "Freddie Mac is one of the institutions behind the great housing crisis that you felt here in Florida in an extraordinary way."

Further distancing himself from government institutions he blames for the housing market meltdown, Romney vowed to rid the housing market of the meddlesome influence of the government.

"I will work to get rid of Freddie Mac to get government out of the housing market," he said at an event in Pompano Beach, Fla.

Romney's barrage on Newt's housing record might be working. According to CNN, the former governor has outspent Gingrich 7 to 1 in Florida, which has helped Romney jump to a sizable lead in the polls prior to Tuesday's primary.

— With reporting by Rebekah Metzler

mhandley@usnews.com

Twitter: @mmhandley

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