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'Un-American' Bailout, Paulson Should Have Quit, Gingrich Says
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., on Sunday described Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's request for billions of dollars to buy debt from struggling Wall Street financial firms as "un-American" and said the secretary should have stepped down.
Gingrich even expressed concern with Paulson's connections to Wall Street. The treasury secretary served as the chairman of a major global investment banking and securities firm before joining the Bush administration.
"You have the former Chairman of Goldman Sachs asking for 700 billion dollars, and in his initial request, asking for it in such an un-American way that I think he should have resigned," said Gingrich. "I think Paulson has terminally misunderstood the nature of the American system. Not just no review, no judicial review, no congressional accountability. Give me 700 billion dollars, 700 BILLION dollars! 'I'll be glad to spend it for you.' That's a centralization of power that is totally un-American."
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Early Sunday, congressional leaders and the Bush administration reached a tentative agreement on the $700 billion Wall Street bailout proposal. The bill is expected to come up for a vote in the House on Monday.
Gingrich, who made his remarks on the "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" roundtable, conceded that he would probably vote for the plan if he were still in U.S. House because Congress was left with little choice.
Last week, Gingrich described the bailout plan as a "dead loser on Election Day" and urged Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain of Arizona to speak out against the plan. McCain, who appeared as the headliner on "This Week", signaled he's likely to vote for the bill in its present form.