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Gingrich, Romney ’Neck and Neck’ in South Carolina

Saturday, January 21, 2012

(Bloomberg) Striving to regain ground in the final hours before the South Carolina Republican presidential primary, Mitt Romney raised questions about rival Newt Gingrich’s business dealings as the former House speaker aimed for an upset victory that could prolong the nominating race.

“I’d like to see what he actually told Freddie Mac (FMCC),” Romney told reporters gathered outside his campaign headquarters in Greenville. “Let’s see what his report was.”

Gingrich, who might win or pull even with Romney in today’s voting, has faced questions from his Republican presidential rivals about his business dealings and consulting work for Freddie Mac, the government-backed home mortgage company, after he left Congress. Freddie Mac and its sister company, Fannie Mae, have received about $153 billion in taxpayer aid since losses from risky mortgages caused them to be brought under U.S. conservatorship in September 2008.

Romney’s campaign is saying the former Massachusetts governor may lose the state, leaving him with just one early state victory heading into the Jan. 31 Florida primary. Traveling the state yesterday, Romney sought to downplay expectations, describing the race as a “neck-and-neck” competition.

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