J.C. Watts, once perhaps the most famous black Republican in the country, has returned to politics in a surprising role: one of the most prominent supporters of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
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The former football star and Oklahoma representative, who retired from Congress in 2002, reemerged in December when he appeared on FOX News to endorse Gingrich. Since then, Watts has campaigned aggressively for his former colleague, even as other African-Africans have accused Gingrich of race-baiting for his attack on President Obama as a “food stamp president.”
Gingrich’s primary rival in the GOP nomination process, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, has criticized the former Speaker for making millions as an adviser to mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But Watts, who has served as chairman of FM Policy Focus, a coalition of financial-services and housing-related trade associations that monitors the activities of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, has defended Gingrich’s claim he did not lobby for the firms.
Watts has also rejected the notion that Gingrich is invoking racial stereotypes in his rhetoric about Obama.
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