Excerpt from former Speaker of House Newt Gingrich on FOX News:
GINGRICH: They (the public) hate the idea that a bunch of rich guys are going to be bailed out by a former chairman of Goldman Sachs (Treasury Secretary Paulson), who's going to spend the money the way he wants to with unlimited capacity to take care of his friends.
VAN SUSTEREN: Does he have a conflict of interest? I'm talking about Secretary Paulson.
GINGRICH: Well, look, I was startled yesterday by a -- and this is what really pushed me over the edge decisively. There was a New York Times report that the New York Federal Reserve had a meeting about AIG, the gigantic insurance company, and the only private-sector firm in the room was the chairman of Goldman Sachs, which happened to have a $20 billion concern.
VAN SUSTEREN: A $20 billion thing. I got the article right here because it has scandalized virtually everybody, wondering what in the world was going on.
GINGRICH: I don't understand how the president -- I don't understand how the president can avoid firing the Secretary of the Treasury, when you have a former chairman of Goldman Sachs who wants to have unlimited ability to spend money, and you have the current chairman of Goldman Sachs the only private-sector person in a room, which, by the way, two weeks later, the U.S. government put up $85 billion to help AIG, in which Goldman Sachs has a $20 billion exposure. The average American looks at -- when the average American understands this, they are going to be so angry at this Congress if it passes a deal to give Secretary Paulson money.
VAN SUSTEREN: This is grim, and worse, we are so uncertain what is going to happen. The bail-out bill has not passed, the market is now open in Asia. And former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is still with us. Mr. Speaker, we were talking about this New York Times article. It's obviously scandalized both of us, with the Goldman Sachs man in the room with his $20 billion stake at hand on this AIG bail-out. But anyway, why isn't someone screaming about this besides one newspaper article and now you?
GINGRICH: You know, I don't know. I don't understand. I think that the liberal Democrats, frankly, are pretty happy with Paulson because they hope he's going to get them a whole lot of money to spend, and they figure they may take over at the election and then they get to spend all that money. I think the conservative Republicans are embarrassed that it's a Republican administration, and so they're a little bit timid to speak out.
But on both sides, this should be seen as an extraordinary scandal. Here you have a former chairman of Goldman Sachs, Secretary of the Treasury. You have Goldman Sachs being in a privileged position to be in a meeting at the New York Federal Reserve to discuss the bailing out of AIG. Then you have the government put up $85 billion for AIG, in which Goldman Sachs has a $20 billion exposure.
I mean, there's something fundamentally so wrong about this whole picture that it's no wonder that it's hard -- and frankly, when I've talked to House Republicans over the last three days, their level of hostility towards Secretary Paulson and their belief that he totally rejects and ignores all of the alternative ideas, except the ones he wants, is pretty - - pretty solid. I think the president will be far better off to have Bob Kimmet up there, the undersecretary of the Treasury, negotiating this bill than he is to have Secretary Paulson. And I think you'd have a much fairer sense in the country of what's going on. I do think this is getting -- this bad, and I think it's going to get worse in appearances.
Full interview here