UPDATE: Scarborough Responds--Don't Twist My Criticism of Newt Into Support For Obama
In response to an inquiry from this NewsBuster, Joe Scarborough has made clear that he strongly opposes President Obama's "disastrous" record, urging people not to twist his criticism of Gingrich into support for Obama. Full Scarborough statement after the jump.
If Newt Gingrich is the Republican presidential candidate, will Joe Scarborough abstain on election day? The question arises because on Morning Joe today, Scarborough flatly declared that Gingrich "is not fit to be the President of the United States."
It was Newt's acceptance of $1 million-plus in fees from Freddie Mac, while subsequently suggesting that "politicians who profited" from the environment surrounding Fannie and Freddie should go to jail, that set Scarborough off. Video after the jump.
Watch the words that could make Scarborough the man without a presidential candidate.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Who says that, when they know they've got a million-and-a-half dollars from Fannie or Freddie, and then says anybody who as profited from Fannie or Freddie should go to jail? Newt Gingrich does . . .
It's very funny. Last night I went on Twitter at the end of the day, just for a few minutes, and a lot of anger, outrage from Newt supporters. And they kept saying: why do you hate Newt? Why is it so personal? I don't hate Newt. I don't really, I never even got to know Newt. I felt kind of bad when the conservatives got together and drove him out of the speakership because he lost his ideological moorings. And you talk to Tom Coburn, or you talk to Steve Largent. You talk to any of these guys, you talk to Matt Salmon, talk to Mark Sanford. And they will tell you that Newt came in as a Contract With America conservative, and he lost his way. It's not personal. I don't really--I would say this about my mother. If my mom was like saying "anybody that got money from Fannie and Freddie should go to jail," I'd say mom, you got money from Fannie and Freddie! It's not personal to say this guy, to me at least, is not fit to be President of the United States.
Full Statement From Joe Scarborough In Response To NewsBusters Inquiry
"Anyone who watches the show or reads my Politico column knows that I believe Barack Obama's economic policies have been disastrous as they pertain to the issue I have fought for over 20 years: reducing the national debt. I have also consistently expressed grave misgivings about the president's foreign policy for years. So while I respect the president and am confident he is doing what he believes to be best for America, his views are dramatically different than mine.
"The assumption of some Gingrich supporters that my critiques of their candidate can somehow be twisted into support for Barack Obama suggests a knowing ignorance of my political beliefs over 20 years. I was more conservative than Gingrich while in Congress (95% ACU rating) and have remained more conservative than Mr. Gingrich since leaving Congress. Unlike the former speaker, I have supported the Ryan Budget, didn't get rich off of Freddie and Fannie, criticized Ethinol and never bragged about being a Rockefeller Republican.
"I have nothing personal against Newt. He's just not consistently conservative enough to win my vote. Barack Obama is also obviously not conservative enough to gain my vote."