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Ron Paul: Gingrich taking Freddie Mac money 'immoral'

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) on Sunday called Newt Gingrich's acceptance of more than $1 million from a government-controlled mortgage lender "immoral."

Paul, who has called on Gingrich to apologize for the $1.6 million he received in his role with Freddie Mac, said while the former House speaker isn't under any legal obligation to return the funds he should consider the move.

"I wouldn't have taken their money just for the fact that I think it's an immoral thing," Paul said Sunday morning on NBC's "Meet the Press."

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"Plus I don't like this idea that you're going to influence somebody who is a pseudo-government agency," he said.

During Saturday night's GOP debate in Iowa, Gingrich defended his relationship with Freddie Mac, telling Paul that, "I was never a spokesman for any agency, I never did any lobbying for an agency."

"I offered strategic advice, I was in the private sector, I was doing things in the private sector," Gingrich said in response to Paul's questioning over his role.

During Sunday's interview Paul questioned how private Freddie Mac is, especially considering that it has been under government control since September 2008 and has needed billions in taxpayer money to stay afloat.

"It was as far as I'm concerned about as close to the government as you can get and to call that private is not exactly accurate," Paul said.

"Obviously this is the epitome of the bailouts and the subject I have worked on for so long," he said. "It's rather annoying that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are still receiving money and "it's a deeply flawed system."

Paul said he wasn't satisfied by Gingrich's answer during Saturday night's debate.

"What can you do in politics? That's the best he can do with it but the crowd didn't welcome his answer very well because obviously it is seen as playing a role of influence," he said."

Paul said neither Gingrich, the new Republican frontrunner, or Mitt Romney are "consistent conservatives." 

"They have more or less admitted that they have changed their positions," he said. "It's not that they are in denial it's just that they admit that they were on one side of a position here and on another position another time."

While Paul sees Romney and Gingrich as ideologically similar he called the former Massachusetts governor "more diplomatic" while it is clear the former Speaker can "rub people the wrong" way.

"I don't think any of my opponents represent change."

Paul also dismissed talk of a possible third-party bid for the presidency if he fails to secure the GOP nomination.

"We have a very nice campaign going on and I'm not even thinking about a third party run," he said.