Newt: “I’m Not Rich”

Newt and Callista GingrichPatrick Fallon/ZUMA Press

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Throw a bunch of desperate and anxious candidates into the crucible of the first primary in the nation, and you will get a stream of whoppers and prevarications. But even though the New Hampshire campaign is not done, we already have a winner in the biggest lie of the week contest. The honors go to Newt Gingrich.

When Gingrich was campaigning in Laconia on Wednesday, a fellow came up to the former House speaker and asked, “Won’t you buy a home in the Lakes Region if elected president?” This was a reference to Mitt Romney’s house in New Hampshire.

Gingrich replied, “No, I can’t afford things like that. I’m not rich.”

And his wife Callista quickly added, “We have one home.”

Not rich? This past summer, Gingrich had to file the financial-disclosure form required of presidential candidates. It revealed that he has a net worth of at least $6.7 million and that his income was at least $2.6 million in 2010. That’s about 65 times the income of the average family of four in the United States. That puts him well into the top 1 percent (about $520,000 a year or more) and close to the top 0.1 percent. He, of course, had that $500,000-plus tab at Tiffany’s, and weeks ago was boasting that he pulled in $60,000 a speech. These are the sort of actions that tend to be associated with richness.

If Gingrich does not consider himself wealthy, he’s living in a world far different from that of the bottom 99 percent. This is a negative ad that writes itself.

(H/t to Alexandra Moe of NBC News for reporting this much underreported exchange.)

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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