Once Washington’s most notorious lobbyist, Jack Abramoff is now a repentant campaigner for cleaning up corruption in Washington, and he gives some of the credit for his turnaround to talk radio host Michael Savage.
In an interview on “The Savage Nation” last night, Savage noted that Abramoff wrote in his book “Capitol Punishment” of having a revelation during his 43 months in prison in which he came to acknowledge he had lost perspective and did wrong.
“Yes, yes, it actually is true, and, frankly, part of the ability to rethink was listening to you every night in jail, as a lot of the guys did,” said Abramoff, who writes a column for WND.
“You actually listened to ‘The Savage Nation’ in prison?” Savage asked.
“Absolutely, yes,” replied Abramoff, “and I wasn’t alone.”
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Later, Savage returned to the subject, and Abramoff told the host why he and other inmates found the show valuable.
“You not only present the news and issues in a clear way, you’re fearless, you’re entertaining,” he said. “It’s an exciting show.”
Abramoff said he was guilty not only of breaking the law but also of participating in a “system where too much that is bad and corrupt is legal.”
Abramoff pleaded guilty in 2006 to corrupting public officials, tax evasion and fraud. The high-profile scandal led to the convictions of 20 people for payoffs in exchange for political favors, including Republican Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio.
Savage asked Abramoff how, if he were an observant Jew who believed the Jewish scriptures, could he “have stayed so far from the center line?”
“Well, I’m a sinner,” Abramoff said.
Abramoff then used an illustration familiar to Savage listeners.
“The worst problem is when your philosophy is wrong,” he said. “If you’re in a boat, and you have a sextant that is one degree off, things look good to you. But when you hit a rock somewhere, you realize that you’ve been mapping totally wrong, and that was the case with me.”
Savage noted that Abramoff names names in his book, and one of them is former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who is vying for the Republican presidential nomination.
Abramoff said Gingrich and his people aren’t happy what with what he’s saying.
“I don’t think he’s worthy of running for president,” Abramoff said of the former Georgia congressman.
Abramoff said Gingrich is unable to “hold a focus” and flip-flops on many issues, including abortion.
“Throughout my dealings with him, one just never knew where you were with him,” he said.
Abramoff said Gingrich is “certainly no more conservative than Romney.”
“This is not the guy conservatives should be voting for,” he said of Gingrich. “We should look seriously to win this election.”
“The Savage Nation” airs live Monday through Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern. It can be heard online through stations such as KSTE in Sacramento.