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Who Said It: Newt Gingrich or Michael Moore? [QUIZ]

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Two divisive characters agree that private equity is bad... when it suits them.

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It was fun to hear what I have been saying for 20 years, not just by any Republican candidate, but Newt Gingrich.
-- Michael Moore on the film, When Mitt Romney Came To Town

Newt Gingrich's hypocrisy can be truly surreal.

If the thrice-married aspiring swinger and former Speaker of the House can cast himself as a champion of traditional marriage and a Washington outsider, he would probably say or do anything politically expedient at the moment. With a Wall Street poster boy as an opponent in the primaries, he would even break Republican orthodoxy, co-opt the discourse of the 99% movement, and challenge the influence of high-octane finance.

This is exactly the situation at hand. Gingrich and his supporters, realizing their underdog status, are attempting to do a bit of political jiu-jitsu -- taking the giant down with his own strength. Romney's biggest strength as a candidate is his successful business career. Thus, Gingrich has no choice but to transform himself into the most prolific critic of private equity (the leveraged-buyout business, if you are a little old-fashioned) since Bryan Burrough and John Helyar, authors of Barbarians at the Gate.

They might seem like natural enemies, but Newt is starting to sound a little bit like über-liberal filmmaker Michael Moore these days. Gingrich and the other non-Romneys have repeatedly casted Romney's former employer, Bain Capital, as a corporate raider that makes its money by "looting" companies and laying people off. A super PAC associated with Newt Gingrich even took a few pages from Moore's playbook and made a Roger and Me-style documentary called When Mitt Romney Came To Town, about Bain Capital's record of taking over companies and leaving unemployment in the wake. Moore joked, "I wondered who they stole from my crew," after seeing the film.

To celebrate Newt Gingrich's rebirth as a tireless crusader for the common man against the callous fat-cats of finance, we found some quotes about private equity and Wall Street from both Gingrich and his political antipode behind anti-corporate documentaries like Capitalism: A Love Story. As it turns out, there's just a thin line between separating one's rhetoric from the other.

Can you tell the difference? Take our quiz!

See if you can figure out which ones are from a self-proclaimed "consistent conservative" that claimed a big hand in the Reagan Revolution -- and which ones came from a man who once claimed that "capitalism destroyed my town."

Click through to the next page for the quiz. Look for the answers on the third page. Best of luck!



Was this Newt Gingrich or Michael Moore talking?

1. "Those of us who believe in free markets and those of us who believe that, in fact, the whole goal of investment is entrepreneurship and job creation, would find it pretty hard to justify rich people figuring out clever, legal ways to loot out a company."

2. "These bastards who run our country are a bunch of conniving, thieving, smug pricks who need to be brought down and removed and replaced with a whole new system that we control."

3. "Is capitalism really about the ability of a handful of rich people to manipulate the lives of thousands of people and then walk off with the money?"

4. "We deserve to know why these big banks got bailed out and folks with a mortgage and folks with a house somehow couldn't. It's almost as though if you ask questions, you're somehow - you're challenging the whole system."

5. "We reward people for making money off money, and moving money around and dividing up mortgages a thousand times over, selling it to China... and it becomes this shell game."

6. "I think, in retrospect, repealing the Glass-Steagall Act was probably a mistake. We should probably reestablish dividing up the big banks into a banking function and an investment function and separating them out again."

7. "People no longer believe that the American dream is for everybody."

8. "There's a big difference between people who go out and create a company -- even if they fail -- if they try to go in the right direction, if they share in the hardships, if they're out there with the workers doing it together. That's one thing. But if someone who is very wealthy comes in and takes over your company and takes out all the cash and leaves behind the unemployment? I think that's not a model we want to advocate, and I don't think any conservative wants to get caught defending that kind of model."

9. "I'm not nearly as enamored of a Wall Street model where you can flip companies, you can go in and have leveraged buyouts, you can basically take out all the money, leaving behind the workers."

10. "Wall Street has overplayed its hand. They have come down too hard on too many people, especially people in the middle class who used to believe in Wall Street."

11. "I want to see the people responsible for destroying the lives of millions of people in hand-cuffs, and taken away and brought to justice, immediately!"



ANSWERS

1. "Those of us who believe in free markets and those of us who believe that, in fact, the whole goal of investment is entrepreneurship and job creation, would find it pretty hard to justify rich people figuring out clever, legal ways to loot out a company."

Newt, of course. The 'believe in free markets' part is a dead giveaway.

2. "These bastards who run our country are a bunch of conniving, thieving, smug pricks who need to be brought down and removed and replaced with a whole new system that we control."

That's Michael Moore talking. As truculent as Gingrich can be, he probably won't be calling any one a prick on the record. Maybe.

3. "Is capitalism really about the ability of a handful of rich people to manipulate the lives of thousands of people and then walk off with the money?"

That's Newt, casting Romney as a corporate raider.

4. "We deserve to know why these big banks got bailed out and folks with a mortgage and folks with a house somehow couldn't. It's almost as though if you ask questions, you're somehow - you're challenging the whole system."

That's Newt talking.

5. "We reward people for making money off money, and moving money around and dividing up mortgages a thousand times over, selling it to China...and it becomes this shell game."

Classic Michael Moore. But just as easily could have been any candidate in the race today. Romney might say that capitalism is on trial in this election, but the notion of mortgage-backed CDOs, bank bailouts, are not even in play. And just the general idea of China... well. Just ask John Huntsman how that went.

6. "I think, in retrospect, repealing the Glass-Steagall Act was probably a mistake. We should probably reestablish dividing up the big banks into a banking function and an investment function and separating them out again."

This might be one of those social engineering moments that Newt will probably regret saying.

7. "People no longer believe that the American dream is for everybody."

Michael Moore speaking at the Occupy Washington protest.

8. "There's a big difference between people who go out and create a company -- even if they fail -- if they try to go in the right direction, if they share in the hardships, if they're out there with the workers doing it together. That's one thing. But if someone who is very wealthy comes in and takes over your company and takes out all the cash and leaves behind the unemployment? I think that's not a model we want to advocate, and I don't think any conservative wants to get caught defending that kind of model."

That's Gingrich again.

9. "I'm not nearly as enamored of a Wall Street model where you can flip companies, you can go in and have leveraged buyouts, you can basically take out all the money, leaving behind the workers."

Newt Gingrich, channeling Roger and Me.

10. "Wall Street has overplayed its hand. They have come down too hard on too many people, especially people in the middle class who used to believe in Wall Street."

Michael Moore again.

11. "I want to see the people responsible for destroying the lives of millions of people in hand-cuffs, and taken away and brought to justice, immediately!"

That would be Michael Moore at Occupy Wall Street. Somebody get this guy a super PAC.


Twitter: @vincent_trivett

(See also: 5 Things You Didn't Know About Newt Gingrich)

No positions in stocks mentioned.
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