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Press Release - Former Rep. Barbara Vucanovich: Gingrich Was "Erratic," "Arrogant," "Didn't Listen to Anybody"

February 01, 2012

"You know, I did serve with the Speaker and he really used to be erratic and I think he probably still is. One of my feelings with him is he was always so full of himself. I mean, humility was not in his makeup. And he was cocky and arrogant and of course didn't listen to anybody." — Former Rep. Barbara Vucanovich

Senator Jim Talent, Lieutenant Governor Brian Krolicki, and former Congresswoman Barbara Vucanovich

"Newt Gingrich is Unreliable for Nevada" Press Conference Call

January 31, 2012

Click Here to Listen to the Full Audio of the Call

Highlights of Yesterday's "Newt Gingrich is Unreliable for Nevada" Press Conference Call:

SENATOR JIM TALENT: "Thank you Ryan. I appreciate you all for allowing me to participate in this call. I'm the former Senator from Missouri but I'm obviously very interested in what happens here in Nevada on Saturday. This is a big decision and we're here to talk about one of the choices that Nevadans have between Governor Romney and Speaker Gingrich. And here to compare the two, we're of course big supporters of Governor Romney. He's a tough, conservative leader. He formed his perspective about government and life during his work in the private sector, spent most of his life in the private sector, that's the first time, this is the first opportunity we're going to have to nominate somebody like that since Ronald Reagan. Governor Romney understands the free market at every level and values it and appreciates it and has shown that he will fight for it. He knows how jobs come, he knows how they go, he can create jobs through policies that reduce the size and scope and power of government and Nevadans know how important that is. That makes him an ideal candidate at a time when the economy is going to be the issue. Governor Romney is a turnaround guy. You know most politicians don't like the biggest challenges of government because they're afraid that they'll fail at it. Governor Romney embraces challenges and overcomes them. He did it in his years at Bain Capital, he did it with the Olympics, he did it in Massachusetts when he turned a $2 billion deficit into a surplus and creating jobs. He's done it recently in these last couple of debates where he just really took control in those debates. So we have a tough, conservative leader in Governor and then Newt Gingrich. He is running as a reliable conservative leader but I'm here to say as a person who served with him that he is not reliable and he's not conservative either. We see examples of that over time, and I'll talk about that in just a minute, but the three poster child examples I use for this is first of all, late last spring, the Republicans in the House brought out what is the blueprint for getting government spending under control. It was the Ryan budget, the heart of the Ryan budget was a Medicare plan. Virtually every Republican in the House supported it. It was a thoughtful, important plan. Governor Romney complimented it at the time and has come out with his own plan which is similar to it in many respects and which Congressman Ryan has complimented. Newt Gingrich went on a national interview program and called the Ryan plan 'radical right-wing social engineering.' He not only opposed it, but did it using the language that the left would use. And Paul Ryan said at the time: with friends like this, I mean, who needs the left? Congressman Ryan got a taste of what we had in the 1990s when Speaker Gingrich was our leader. He opposed the surge. One of the big reasons we nominated John McCain was he fought so effectively for that. The Speaker opposed it. The Speaker did an ad with Nancy Pelosi when the cap and trade bill was gaining fire. He gave credibility to it, undermined the heart of the conservative agenda. Well it's things like that, that lack of reliability, particularly on the issues of such importance to the conservative movement. It's the reason why we eventually removed him as Speaker in 1998. By the first one of these calls a few months ago and it's when I first started saying this, I was, you know, I was reluctant to do it, I didn't like to say it about a former colleague, but it was important to say and I'm not the only one who is saying it, we're not the only ones who's saying it. Former colleagues of his from Tom Coburn, Joe Scarborough, Suzy Molinari, and Pete King, and many, many others have said it in many different forms. And since then, the speaker's done a number of things to confirm everything I said at the time. He's campaigned as an anti-establishment figure who wants transparency in Washington, then he simply won't tell us what he did for the over $1 million he got from Fannie and Freddie when he worked there. This is particularly important to Nevadans because we all believe that Fannie and Freddie had a big share of the responsibility for the collapse in housing values in the country. This is a question the speaker hasn't answered, despite campaigning as an anti-establishment figure who wants transparency. Says he wants to change Washington, then goes around from state to state pork-barreling. He was just in Florida—where I am now—promising them a moon colony. When he was in New Hampshire, he promised them a veterans hospital. This is exactly what got us into trouble. That's why earmarks doubled when he was speaker. Says he's a Reaganite, helped President Reagan win the Cold War—you've all heard him say that—and then we find out that, in fact, he viciously attacked Reagan's foreign policy in 1986. While at a very crucial point, by the way, in the president's Latin American policy, he said that Reagan's policy toward the Soviets had failed, was failing, and would continue to fail. He said President Reagan is failing. So look the stakes—I'm going to yield these other two speakers today—fine Nevadans—my old friend Barbara Vucanovich—the stakes are huge. The country's in danger. We have to have a reliable leader who believes and fights for conservative policies and the conservative agenda and won't turn around and sabotage it. That's clearly Mitt Romney and that's why we're here today."

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR BRIAN KROLICKI: "Hi everyone, this is Brian Krolicki. I'm the Lieutenant Governor of Nevada and proud to be a co-chair of the Romney campaign. Senator Talent, thank you so much for leading us into that and I think you hit almost all of the important national points and we certainly feel that here. Nevada is very eager to finally embrace this process. This caucus, that we've been preparing for much time finally happens on Saturday and I think we're going to have the Gulf Coast come visit us in the next 24 hours after the events of today conclude. We're delighted to bring the campaign here. I certainly known—to the same depth—Newt Gingrich as Senator Talent and Congressman Vucanovich. But, once upon a time, I worked for my great-grandma in Congress, Barbara Vucanovich. And that was back in 1994 doing a summer project called 'Contract with America.' So that was my first exposure to the leadership, which at times was exquisite but it was really a thousand different ideas a day. And at times it was exceedingly confusing. And there's the personality, the temperament, I have had the pleasure, I think, of knowing very well, Mitt Romney for almost a half-a-dozen years now. And that temperament—the CEO, financial skills, the abilities to turn things around, again as Senator Talent said, whether it's turnaround through the operations of Bain's operations, whether it's the Olympic games, or Massachusetts. I mean those are the skills sets and the temperament that we need as a country and that's why, knowing both men, I just wholeheartedly embraced hugely Mitt Romney and especially after seeing the events of Florida. I think I saw Speaker Gingrich described as a Roman candle, today, with a temper tantrum. And I think that is indicative of a side of his personality that does not a good candidate make nor a good president be. And so, I just think it's terribly important that we understand that Mitt Romney really is the individual with the skills sets, the temperament, the character to defeat Barack Obama and be the President of the United States. One of the things closer to home, and I will yield the floor, again to one of my favorite people in the world, Barbara Vucanovich, is the housing issue. You're leaving Florida and coming to Nevada, but really two of the states most hard-hit by the housing collapse, if you will. I think we compete with Florida essentially, in saying we have more foreclosure in this state than any other. I really do believe we have the highest foreclosure rate. Over 60 percent of our homes have negative net worth. Which is an extraordinary number. Homes are people's most prized possession and represents most of their net worth. For 60 percent to be underwater, I mean that is just a tremendous drag. So we need the right person with the right skills to turn it around. And before I was Lieutenant Governor, I was the Treasurer of Nevada for eight years and was actually the president of the National State Treasurers. And the only reason that has any relevance here as it is, is that we spent much time working with GSE and particularly Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, because, as treasurers, much of our investments are made in government securities. And I remember meeting with different representatives of these institutions and getting the complete runaround, no transparency, essentially misrepresenting how they wanted to be regulated. They were saying one thing and trying to feed another that we had supported. So bottom line is, in Nevada, we actually, divested ourselves of Fannie and Freddie securities, which was about a half billion dollars at the time. In Nevada, that's a lot of money. But I just find it interesting while we getting the runaround from the housing agencies—and that's before it really blew up—made a fortunate decision, Speaker Gingrich was making one and a half, $1.7 million in fees to be 'historian' to that entity and I'm not sure what that means, but certainly paid for from the budget of the lobbyist arm of Freddie Mac. So this is ground zero for housing and to have someone who's just constantly representing things differently than they are and where he is. I'm glad Governor Romney has taken him to task and has lit it up and has brought some transparency to this issue. But one of the—I'm going to give it to Barbara Vucanovich here—one of the great honors I had was serving on the Hill with Barbara. Barbara Vucanovich, besides being a longtime, one of the great congresswomen from Nevada and I think the western United States, she was a secretary to the House Republican Congressional Caucus. So in that capacity she certainly had an opportunity to work with Speaker Gingrich, during that time, you know, the Minority Leader Gingrich intimately on a daily basis, for an extended period of time. So I think her endorsement of Governor Romney in this situation is poignant. So Barbara, would you please take the call?"

CONGRESSWOMAN BARBARA VUCANOVICH: "Thank you Brian, I'd be happy to do that. I can't thank you enough for offering me to do this. I think we need to make sure that people here know that Governor Romney is very conservative, a wonderful representative and he has such a wonderful business background that is a little different from people who have been in Washington for years and years. You know, I did serve with the Speaker and he really used to be erratic and I think he probably still is. One of my feelings with him is he was always so full of himself. I mean, humility was not in his makeup. And he was cocky and arrogant and of course didn't listen to anybody. We've talked about earmarks and many other things that important, the Ryan budget. I mean I could go on and on because I haven't kept in touch every second but, you know, we do want somebody who is able, who is reliable and who can bring this country up and help up get us out of the mess we're in thanks to Barack Obama. I can't blame it all on Newt but anyway I did serve as Secretary to the Conference. Newt got the Contract With America and that was a good thing, I think he did a good job on that and I can't fault him for that. But other than that, I would be very uncomfortable if we ended up with Newt as our nominee. I don't think, well I wouldn't say I can't vote for him, I'd have to vote, but I don't think he is the answer for our country. And certainly Nevada has suffered a great deal with housing problems and so many of the other problems. We are behind the eight ball and I don't like us being there and I feel that Governor Romney can pull us out of all of this. And so I hope that everybody who is listening is going to support and I do support him and I'm very proud to do that and I supported him when he ran four years ago. So I know the man, I feel very comfortable with him as a leader and I would be very comfortable to see him be our nominee and I hope he will be and I hope we all vote for him this weekend with our caucuses. So I yield back my time, I'm not going to take up much time except to say that Newt is very cocky, arrogant, unreliable and I don't want him for my nominee. Thank you."

Mitt Romney, Press Release - Former Rep. Barbara Vucanovich: Gingrich Was "Erratic," "Arrogant," "Didn't Listen to Anybody" Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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