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At $1.6 million, Newt Gingrich is world's highest paid historian, says Romney

Mitt Romney challenges the $1.6 million paid to Newt Gingrich as a 'historian' for Freddie Mac. Newt Gingrich responds with a $10 bet.

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney talks to Bob Garon at the Chez Vachon Restaurant Dec. 12, 2011 in Manchester, N.H.

(AP Photo/Jim Cole)

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 Mitt Romney on Monday aggressively criticized rival Newt Gingrich and called on him to return the estimated $1.6 million he received for providing strategic advice to Freddie Mac, the quasi-government agency that guarantees home mortgages.

"One of the things that I think people recognize in Washington is that people go there to serve the people and then they stay there to serve themselves," Romney told Fox News Channel during an interview from the Chez Vachon diner here.

Romney said the $1.6 million sum is much higher than the $300,000 figure Gingrich was asked about during a candidates' debate last month in Michigan. Gingrich said at the time that he acted as a historian and did not lobby for Freddie Mac.

"That would make him the highest paid historian in history," Romney said.

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Gingrich was equally aggressive in his response,

"If Gov. Romney would give back all the money he's earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees over the years at Bain, then I would be glad to listen to him," he told reporters in Londonderry. "But I bet you $10, not $10,000, that he won't take the offer."

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