Gingrich wants to jail top Democrats

Newt Gingrich, former U.S. Speaker of the House, speaks during a presidential debate sponsored by Bloomberg and The Washington Post held at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011 (AFP Photo / Scott Eells)
Protesters on Wall Street continue to fight against the money-hogging bigwigs that they say put the US in full-blown crisis mode. At last night’s debate, however, presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich said the banks aren’t to blame — it’s the Democrats.

Speaking on the current crashing economy, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told an audience in New Hampshire last night that top Democrats are the ones who have put America in its current state, not the bankers whom Occupy Wall Street protesters are holding accountable for the jobs crisis and faltering economy.

“I think the people who are protesting on Wall Street break into two groups,” Gingrich said to a round table of candidates and the live audience. “One is left-wing agitators who would be happy to show up next week on any other topic, and the other are sincere middle-class people who are, frankly, close to the Tea Party people and actually care. You can tell which group are which. The people who are decent and responsible citizens pick up after themselves. The people who are just out there as activist trashed the place and walk off and are proud of having trashed it.”

“I think it’s perfectly reasonable for people to be angry, but let’s be clear who put the fix in. The fix was put in by the federal government. If you want to put people in jail, I’ll second what [Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN)] said. Start with Barney Frank and Chris Dodd and let’s look at the politicians who created the environment.”

When debate host Charlie Rose asked Gingrich is he was serious about jailing Frank and Dodd, two top Democrat lawmakers, Gingrich told the Rose and the rest that it would be a well needed started to turn things around.

“Well in Chris Dodd’s case, go back and look at the Countryside deals,” Gingrich replied. “In Barney Frank’s case, go back and look at the lobbyists he was close to at Freddie Mac. All I’m saying is that everybody in the media who wants to go after the business community ought to start to go after the politicians who have been at the heart of the sickness which is weakening this country.”

It didn’t take long, however, for Gingrich’s targets to begin issuing retorts. By early today, Barney Frank of the House Financial Service Committee had already issued a statement attacking Gingrich’s diatribe from last night’s debate and former House Speaker himself for playing a role in the current economic crisis.

“The Republicans — part of the time under Newt Gingrich — ran Congress from 1995 until 2006, the period during which the financial crisis began and then rose to disastrous proportions,” Frank said in a statement today. “Chris Dodd and I were in the minority during that time, and in fact no remedial action was taken by Congress until we became chairmen of our respective committees in 2007 and 2008.”

Frank wasn’t ready to sit back and take Gringrich’s attack without some harsh words himself, though. Before concluding his statement, Frank wrote, “Apparently, Newt Gingrich — who considers himself one of the intellectual leaders of the free world — is so embarrassed by the fact that he is running behind Michele Bachmann in Republican polls that it has increased his already well-developed propensity to utter outlandish things.”

While popularity waxes and wanes for top-tier candidates like Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, public perceptions of both Bachmann and Gingrich have remained laughably low as of late.