Tampa, Fla.

In the run-up to the South Carolina primary, Newt Gingrich attacked Mitt Romney's record at Bain Capital as "exploitative" and "not defensible." But following Monday night's debate, a Gingrich aide seemed to back off the Bain attacks, saying that Romney's work in private equity was an honorable thing--at least as honorable as Gingrich's work for Freddie Mac.

Gingrich's work for Freddie Mac came under fire Monday night, after Romney released a new ad about Gingrich's $1.6 million contract with the government-sponsored enterprise that helped cause the housing market collapse. Details of Gingrich's contract released Monday night revealed that the former speaker had reported to Freddie Mac's chief lobbyist.

When asked in the post-debate spin room to compare Gingrich's work for Freddie Mac and Romney's work for Bain, Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond said they're both "good things to do."

TWS: How would you describe Speaker Gingrich's work for Freddie as different from Mitt Romney's work for Bain? Do you see one as more legitimate than the other?

HAMMOND: No. I don't think they're really comparable, considering Mitt was the CEO of his company. He was running it. Newt was just an outsider who was paid to give advice.

TWS: But is work for Freddie Mac more honorable than [Romney's] work for Bain?

HAMMOND: I don't think there's a distinction between the two.

TWS: There's not a distinction between the two?

HAMMOND: No. Earning a paycheck--there's a lot of honor that comes with that. No one's being critical of the fact that they've tried to earn money.

REPORTER: Did you say there was not a distinction between the two?

HAMMOND: No, there's not. They're both fine. Both are good things to do.

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