Newt Takes Heat

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: If President Clinton thinks the Whitewater special prosecutor is on a political witch hunt, what does Newt Gingrich think about his Democratic peers in the House? House Majority Leader Dick Armey today called a newly-broadened ethics investigation into the Speaker's finances a "vendetta" by "Democratic malcontents who need to satisfy their thirst for a pint of Newt's blood." Thursday, a bipartisan ethics subcommittee extended the House probe beyond alleged tax violations to look at Gingrich's use of non-government personnel and facilities and his relationships with tax-exempt organizations. Although House Republican Caucus chairman John Boehner says the committee is only gathering information, Democrats are already looking to make the investigation a campaign issue. "Newt Gingrich is already a major Democratic campaign issue," says TIME's James Carney. "He is the least popular nationally known politician there is. Clinton's ads harness Dole to Gingrich. Every Democratic challenger and incumbent is linking Gingrich with his or her opponent. Although the allegations that are coming out of the ethics committee are not the reason Gingrich is unpopular, they will certainly help the Democrats. We can't expect the Democrats to elevate the ethics concerns over the policy issues, but it certainly will be there in the background." -->