By invoking executive privilege over questions about the Justice Department’s “Fast and Furious” operation, the Obama administration is making a mistake of historic proportions, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Wednesday.
Likening it to Watergate, the Georgia Republican said President Obama might be making it worse for himself.
“Had Richard Nixon after the break-ins turned over everything and said, ‘Let’s find out who’s guilty, get it over with, done, it would have been a blip. It would have gone away. He would have served his term. History would have been different,” he said. “Part of what’s involved here is American guns ending up killing an American law enforcement officer having been processed by the Justice Department to the Mexican drug cartels. This is a really serious charge. A number of Mexicans were killed by these guns. Now it turns out the whole thing was a sting that went bad. Somebody should have known about it.
“It makes you wonder, what are they trying to hide?”
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder faced questions over the sting operation, which involved the transfer of illegal guns to Mexico.
A House committee voted to find Holder in contempt of Congress for his failure to hand over documents related to the Justice Department’s actions.
“They had an opportunity to come clean, get it over with, let the country decide, they would have been embarrassed,” Gingrich said. “It’s even conceivable Holder might have had to resign because the thing was run so badly, but now it’s going to become a major scandal in which the president himself is getting drug into it. That’s exactly backwards. The job of a cabinet officer is to protect the president. It’s never the president’s job to protect the cabinet officer. I think Obama has this one backwards.”
Gingrich, who ended his bid for the Republican presidential nomination with $4.3 million in campaign debt, also took a shot at Obama.
“I think the president has such a terrible record on job creation and has the worst unemployment record since the Great Depression that I think he can’t raise any of these issues,” he said. “Every time Barack Obama talks about job creation, he’s reminding people what a failure his administration is. Over the last five or six weeks, his efforts to attack (presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt) Romney have fallen short. People expect an incumbent president to solve problems, not to blame others. When Ronald Reagan ran in 1984, the theme was leadership that’s working. He didn’t talk about Jimmy Carter. He talked about ‘Morning In America.’ Obama has gone from, ‘Yes we can,’ to, ‘Why we couldn’t,’ as his campaign theme. I think all of it is further weighing him down.”
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