On Monday, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) announced he is retiring, which frees him up for one of his favorite pastimes: taking not-so-subtle jabs at Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.
At his retirement announcement, Frank declared that he would “neither be a lobbyist, nor a historian.” The comment was an obvious dig at the fact Gingrich had been paid a large sum of money by one government institution for work as a “historian.”
During an October debate, Gingrich asserted that Frank should be jailed instead of the bankers who were responsible for the 2008 financial meltdown.
“In Barney Frank’s case, go back and look at the lobbyists he was close to at Freddie Mac,” Gingrich said. “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.”
But a Bloomberg report published in mid-November revealed that Gingrich was the one with close ties to the government-sponsored Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, otherwise known as Freddie Mac.
Gingrich has denied he was a lobbyist for the institution, instead claiming he was paid $1.6 million for his role as a “historian.”
At a press conference Monday, a reporter asked Frank if he had any plans to become a lobbyist after retirement from Congress.
“Let me be very clear,” the congressman replied. “I will neither be a lobbyist, nor a historian. … One of the advantages, to me, of not running for office is I don’t even have to pretend to try to be nice to people that I don’t like. Now, some of you may not think I’ve been good at it, but I’ve been trying. And the notion of being a lobbyist and having to go and be nice to people I don’t like, it would be ridiculous.”
The Massachusetts Democrat added that he was delighted with Gingrich’s recent ascent to Republican frontrunner.
“I did not think I had lived a good enough life to be rewarded by Newt Gingrich being the Republican nominee,” he said. “I look forward to debating — to take one important example — the Defense of Marriage Act with Mr. Gingrich. I think he is an ideal opponent for us when we talk about just who it is that is threatening the sanctity of marriage.”
Gingrich, who supports the Defense of Marriage Act and opposes same sex marriage, has been married three times himself.
“He would be the best thing to happen to the Democratic Party since Barry Goldwater,” Frank concluded.
Watch this video from CNN, broadcast Nov. 28, 2011.