Gingrich pressed on affair
February 23rd, 2011
09:29 AM ET
3 years ago

Gingrich pressed on affair

(CNN) – Newt Gingrich was forced to wade into the thorny matter of his personal life Tuesday night during a forum at the University of Pennsylvania.

In a question-and-answer session, Isabel Friedman, a student at the university who's also Democratic activist, pressed Gingrich on how he squares his pro-family values with the fact he has been married three times and has admitted to two extramarital affairs.

"You adamantly oppose gay rights... but you've also been married three times and admitted to having an affair with your current wife while you were still married to your second," Friedman said, in comments first reported by Politico. "As a successful politician who's considering running for president, who would set the bar for moral conduct and be the voice of the American people, how do you reconcile this hypocritical interpretation of the religious values that you so vigorously defend?"

In a video of the interaction posted on YouTube, Gingrich appeared none-too-happy with the question.

"I'll bet almost everybody here can gather the thrust of your question," he said. "I appreciate the delicacy and generosity in the way it was framed . . . I hope you feel better about yourself."

The possible Republican presidential candidate and former House Speaker added he doesn't think most voters will care about his past personal mistakes:

"I've had a life which, on occasion, has had problems," said Gingrich. "I believe in a forgiving God, and the American people will have to decide whether that's their primary concern."

"If the primary concern of the American people is my past, my candidacy would be irrelevant," he continued. "If the primary concern of the American people is the future . . . that's a debate I'll be happy to have."

Gingrich has admitted to cheating on his second wife in the late 1990's with the woman who is now his wife. He's also acknowledged having an affair with the woman who became his second wife while he was married to his first wife.


Filed under: Newt Gingrich
soundoff (78 Responses)
  1. gt

    he knows he doesnt have a chance... he just likes the attention

    February 23, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  2. rockysfan

    Yeah, right. He believes in a forgiving God? But not when it comes to homosexuals or democrats. What a freaking hypocrite! Yeah, you run, jackarse. LMAO all the way to the election polls to vote for anyone but you. Remember, some states allow not affiliated to vote in primaries....

    February 23, 2011 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  3. mom2homer

    It's not OK if you do it, but my god will forgive me if I do it.

    February 23, 2011 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  4. Bob Dog

    Its simply delightful to see this pompous, self-serving egomaniac exposed as a cheap hypocrite!

    Newt is the new "Paln." Every step he takes toward 2012 means more damage for the republican party. Its wonderful to see these hypocrites put themselves before their party, their country, and their integrity.

    Run Newt, run!!!

    February 23, 2011 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  5. FM

    Why people are wasting their precious time questioning this man!. Even those who were unfortunate (blind) will vote, he will never become the President!

    February 23, 2011 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  6. Reality Check

    Gingrich is moraly bankrupt – I dont care to have the likes of him in any govt office.

    February 23, 2011 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  7. SueRH

    He believes in a forgiving God – unless the "sin" is homosexuality. :P

    February 23, 2011 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  8. EddyL

    and his answer of course that was "family values" is as meaningless to him as the flag pin on his lapel..... it's all just part of the GOP smoke and mirrors game.

    February 23, 2011 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  9. Bruce

    How many women has he had an affair with, whom he has gotten pregnant and has forced them to have an abortion and paid hush money to shut up about it. Just a thought, since his god is such a "forgiving one". This guy is a hypocrit of the first order.

    February 23, 2011 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  10. ddpd

    Nice attempt to divert blame for the question on the student, Newt!

    February 23, 2011 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  11. Former Republican - Now Independent

    While Gingrich's intelligence is unquestionably high and his leadership ability established; his morality and credability is seriously lacking.

    The Republican Party of Barry Goldwater would have crucified Gingrich themselves (as they did Nelson Rockefeller for divorcing his wife) and made certain Newt would never be considered as presidential material.

    The current Republican-Tea Party is not so picky, even though they give lip-service to family values and morality issues which their less-discerning followers eat up.

    It is tragic how far the GOP has fallen.

    February 23, 2011 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  12. nicotoscan

    Do as I say not as I do!

    February 23, 2011 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  13. zazu

    Two points mr. Speaker,
    One, you have balls pointing to the insensitivity of the questioner who was very fair to you. How gracious were you to you cancer stircken wife when you presented her with the divorce papers? Two, if your moral legislation is just for the sake of it and with multiple loopholes of "forgiveness" what good is it anyway if it doesn't change behavior? Isn't it ironic that those liberals actually live the christian ideal better than those who preach about it? Just saying. Not that his useful idiots care.

    February 23, 2011 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  14. Mr.Boombostick

    Hmmmm i get it GOD only forgives heterosexuals for their sins but not gays or any other person that does not fit into you moral hypocrisy.

    February 23, 2011 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  15. Casual Citizen

    Got to love young America!

    FINALLY, someone has said out loud, what MOST of are thinking when it comes to this party of "Family Values". I do realize that most of the Republicanknuckleheads would love to take that statement back, but it has been so used up in an attempt to make to make the Democrats a bunch of Jerry Springer 'guests'

    It has now back fired on them big time.

    The party of hypocrites is a better way to describe them. Rush is the king. Sarah Palin is a very close second.

    When the Repugs can say for sure, that all of their party members are 'clean' that is when they can use that label again. And.....that is never going to happen as long as their party memebers are PEOPLE!! So, the list of scandals will get bigger and bigger by the Presidentical election when the Democrats dig up the dirt.

    The Repugs have so many skeletons in their closets the bones are coming out of the cracks in the door. Too bad really, if all of the gay Repugs would actually come and support their fellow gay America's and stop being cowards, I suspect the Repugs would have 16 members left.

    Get smart, vote for the party that actually cares about you and allows you to be WHO YOU ARE. Be brave and make a stand for once.

    Unless of course, you like hanging out with the likes of Rush here. Talk about less than a man.....

    February 23, 2011 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  16. lynn

    When the truth hurts, turn the tables on your adversary. We all know the truth Gingrich, your tricks won't work. You are the lowest form of manhood, hiding behind indignation at being asked about your personal behavior.

    February 23, 2011 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  17. vic nashville tn

    Good question they preach only they don’t flow what they preach

    February 23, 2011 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  18. Jon in Rochester NY

    He was publically crucifying Bill Clinton while he was having an affair at the same time. What does this say about this man's morals? I think that is more disturbing than the affairs. I don't trust him and he doesn't deserve my vote!

    February 23, 2011 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  19. Rosslaw

    Well, I don't know about the questioner but I feel a lot better that this political detrius is called on the carpet for his actual life rather than the "Leave it to Beaver" fantasies that he and his ilk prefer to perpetuate.

    February 23, 2011 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  20. Damm

    What does your past say about your future Mr. so and so? Have you heard that the best predictor of future behavior is one's past behavior? Especially when it is a pattern and no isoloated? How many wives and affairs between you and your friend Rush Limbaugh?

    February 23, 2011 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  21. BobInIrvine

    Right, Newt, let's bring God into your lame excuse for your moral bankruptcy. I hope you run, so your hypocrisy will be fully exposed. You are politically radioactive and have ZERO chance of winning another election.

    February 23, 2011 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  22. paul

    Newt, most people will "forgive" you ONCE. A second and third time? No thanks, there are better candidates with higher morals.

    February 23, 2011 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  23. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    That is because like every other prominent Republican, his philosophy is "Do as I say, not as I do!"

    February 23, 2011 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  24. The Dude

    Newt is a self-righteous zealot with baggage...a perfect republican

    February 23, 2011 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "As a successful politician who's considering running for president, who would set the bar for moral conduct and be the voice of the American people, how do you reconcile this hypocritical interpretation of the religious values that you so vigorously defend?"
    -------------------------------------------------–

    BOOOOYAAAAA!!!!!

    Lord Jesus, if only I could've been present to have witnessed this exchange!

    The American people, Newt, are a forgiving people generally speaking. What the American people have a hard time stomaching is a two-faced, Bible-quoting, hypocrite like youself. The type of person who has one set of rules for themselves, and a whole different more demanding set for others. The type of person who is quick to turn a blind eye to his own "indiscretions and shortcomings" but is quick to jump all over someone else's. You know.....someone just like you.

    The President of this country should in fact at least APPEAR to epitomize everything that is great about us, and the best that we have in us. He or should should embody good morals, intelligence, hard-work ethic, a good sense of the importance of the family unit, compassion, empathy, and be a good role model. My goodness, I just described our CURRENT PRESIDENT didn't I? You are so far from that model that it is not even funny, and it makes you as a candidate to the office ofthe Presidency irrelevant. The questions "What were you thinking?" and " How dare you even consider running?" immediately came to mind.

    Your response to Ms. Friedman, I must grant you, belongs in the Hall of Fame of Flipping the Script and Jedi Mind Trick.

    February 23, 2011 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
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