Asked by reporters Monday about the $250,000 to $500,000 debt owed to Tiffany & Co. that was reported on his wife’s financial disclosure forms in 2006, Newt Gingrich noted he paid off the bill in full and tried to make the case that the White House could learn a thing or two from his household’s fiscal responsibility.
“On the Tiffany’s thing I’m totally mystified,” he said. “I owe no personal debts. None. Of course I paid off our house, we paid off our cars, we run four small businesses, we happen to be successful. We reported accurately what we were doing, it’s all after tax income, none of it isn’t publicly known. If Obama followed our pattern on fiscal responsibility the United States would currently be running a surplus and buying back debt from the Chinese.”
Gingrich has declined to provide details about the debt. The issue came up again Monday at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington attended by reporters.
Gingrich noted in an interview with Face the Nation on CBS on Sunday that he was a “frugal” person. Today, he attributed the Tiffany’s bill to his family’s generosity towards its loved ones.
“I’m happy to say I love my wife, we love many of our family and friends, and we try to be very good to a range of people,” he said. “God has been very good to us and we’ve been very successful.”
He added that as a self-made small business owner, his wealth was a boost to the economy.
“It’s the opposite of the Obama model, we actually are creating jobs and putting people to work,” he said.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.