HIGHTOWER: Newt's Ice Bucket

Here he comes again: Newt Gingrich, the corrupt, ego-maniacal, self-serving, blow-dried Twit who is the chief Republican in Washington.He is so unpopular outside the Beltway, though, that the GOP has been keeping him locked-away in the basement during this election season, but it's almost impossible to keep a Twit down, and sure enough he's been popping-up in public lately, carrying an ice bucket.Newt says that his ice bucket is the perfect symbol of what the Republican Congress has achieved in the last two years. It seems that before he became Loudspeaker of the House, bags of ice were routinely delivered to every congressional office each morning, and by gollies he has stopped this waste of the taxpayers' money. He even lugged his ice bucket with him for the Meet The Press TV show, claiming to have put the chill on this congressional perk and saved taxpayers 400,000 bucks a year.Of course, Newt also increased spending for his own office budget, by $600,000, so he's not quite the budget slasher he claims to be, but let's look deeper into his ice bucket. True, there are no more ice deliveries, but that doesn't mean there is no more free ice for congressional offices.Under Newt's big ice reform, instead of getting deliveries, each lawmaker can send a staffer trooping to one of five distribution centers Newt has set up, where they can pick-up ice twice a day and haul it back to the office. He doesn't tell us how much of our tax money is wasted on high-paid staffers hauling ice, not how much is wasted making the ice and carrying it to the five distribution centers. Here's another secret he doesn't tell us: While most lawmakers have actually quit taking the ice, Gingrich himself continues to send staffers down to fetch a bag for him on a daily basis.Keep your eye on The Newt -- he's a slick little salamander.

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