Gingrich pressed on affair
February 23rd, 2011
09:29 AM ET
4 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. Realistic

    Newt gangrene uses his bully pulpit to attack peoples past for his own benefit but oh no, his is off limits. No Newt, your past is important especially when talk family values which you lack. You attempt to attack others about their past but you try to distance yourself from yours. Newt, you lack the moral and conviction to lead a diverse nation like ours and your attempt to no answer the question only shows what a hypocritic you are. And by the way, lets talk about the reason you were asked to step down from the speakership..You know Newt gangrene you made history when you were removed from your post, you were the first speaker to be removed from power due to corruption, yes corruption. No Newt, you are a cheater, corrupt and practice the art of psychological terrorism. We don't want or need that type of hatred and bigotry in the WH>

    February 23, 2011 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  2. jules

    "I appreciate the delicacy and generosity in the way it was framed . ." Lol. You're kidding, right, toad or newt or whatever ! Your party is so known for it's delicate rhetoric. For example, Toad Limbaugh and his disrespectful comment about Michelle Obama's weight. How low class can you get ! Why didn't he comment when Laura Bush was telling parents to get their kids to read ? Surely, parents don't need to be told that their kids should read. These guys are so repugnant !

    Good for you Isabel Friedman ! You should feel great about yourself.

    February 23, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  3. Lee

    Actually it is entirely relevant, Newt. If your compatriots are going to hysterically scream "hypocrite" at the First Lady for encouraging healthy eating and yet consuming one rib, it's puzzling how they will rationalize your philandering past with your insistance that everyone ELSE live by a strict moral code. It's hilarious to see how some "Family Values" conservatives conduct themselves in their own familes, which they certainly do not seem to value very much. Though, at least you weren't actually caught flexing any tiny pecs in a Craigslist date ad, gotta give you that.

    February 23, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  4. Real Patriots Do MORE than Salute the flag, They educate themselves

    Do as I say, not as I do is the R motto. Hypocrisy rules that idiocracy. Small govt unless it involves our personal lives.
    IOKIYAR

    February 23, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  5. D. Corrigan

    Past actions are what gives credibility to future performance. It's why a repeat offender drunk driver will lose his license permanently. I doubt those DD's are standing in front of the judge saying "Well, yes your honor. If given the chance I will be driving drunk at the first chance I get. But if you make me Chief of Police, I can guarantee you I won't be getting caught again". Newt didn't do it just once, but twice. And it wasn't like he was a guy cheating on his girlfriend. He had long term affairs while married with children. So what was going through his head (the one that sits further from the ground) during the second marriage ending affair? "The kids seemed to take the first divorce pretty well. I think they would WANT me to trade this wife in for a younger model. After all, my happiness is what's most important to all concerned."
    The REAL kicker is that he went to the hospital where his first wife was being treated for CANCER and tried to get her to sign divorce settlement papers that were very kind to him while she was under medication. But than again, the people who vote for him are the SAME EXACT PEOPLE who feel the only people who REALLY tells the truth are a DRUG ADDICT and a guy who SEXUALLY HARASSES HIS FEMALE EMPLOYEES. How's THAT for irony?

    February 23, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    That should have read: " He or she should embody good morals...".
    My mistake.

    February 23, 2011 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  7. AEK

    Come on you guys, you know Republicans DO NOT ever admit anything or apologize for anything unless someone is paying them for it. Newt could care less if Democrats/Independents question his personal ethics. He only cares what his hypocritical right-wing family values base think and they are not bright enough to know when they are being fed a line of BS. Remember, these are the same people who have supported Ms. Palin because she's "hot".

    February 23, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  8. Al-NY,NY

    Way to go!! Nail that hypocrite to the wall. And he has the cajones to dismiss it as "nobody cares"?????

    February 23, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  9. KathyC in Minnesota

    Someone who has professed "CONSERVATIVE FAMILY VALUES" and then has extra marital affairs, will find themselves open to ridicule and pressed on their HYPOCRISY.

    Newt Gingrich and John Ensign find themselves in that pickle. Yet, David Vitter was re-elected in Lousiana. Go figure!!!

    February 23, 2011 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  10. Will 18E

    His next failed presidential slogan. Do as I say, not as I do.

    February 23, 2011 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  11. KingPellinore

    Gingrich is the same guy who went after President Clinton's indiscretions like a bloodhound and tried to have Clinton removed from office over said indiscretions while Gingrich himself was actively cheating on his own wife.. Gingrich's hypocrisy is nothing new.

    February 23, 2011 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  12. Pay attention

    It's evident that this guy is very hypocritical. If you have so much issues in your own personal life why would you assume to tell other people what to do in theirs.

    February 23, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  13. HonestThinker

    "hypocritical interpretation" is right on the money. Lets not forget that good ole boy newt vigorously pursued Clinton for his "problems" with Monica, and he wasnt too delicate either. AND, newt was having an affair at the SAME time that he was after Clinton! NOR did newt seem to believe then in a "forgiving god". BUT WAIT – now newt wants everyone to behave like a "forgiving god"!

    Hey newt – this has nothing to do with dems or repubs. Remember when u and tomdelay(who also had an affair while married) claimed that politics had nothing to do with your probing Monica?

    U are a hypocrite newt! U use the ignorance and forgetfullness of Americans for your political gain. Please, do America a favor, and just fade away! Dont hide behind some god now, u didnt in the past!

    February 23, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  14. kevin

    Do this Joke of a man really think he can become the POTUS. Newt, you should do stand up comedy because that is the funniest think I have ever heard. Newt, youir a phoney, Yes, America will dig into your past, and then you will see that America is not as stupid as you think we are. AMERICA HAS FINNALY WOKE UP.

    February 23, 2011 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  15. RobA

    I could swear that Gingrich is one of those who either brings up the whole Bill Clinton scandal when criticizing Democrats for their morals, and/or chimes in whenever anyone else does. Gingrich trying to make the questioner feel bad about asking...that's just sleazy. He knows she has a point but won't admit it. Typical politician...accusing people who point out your hypocrisy of being the bad guys.

    February 23, 2011 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  16. PalmReader

    "I believe in a forgiving God, and the American people will have to decide whether that's their primary concern."

    Apparently Newtie hasn't quite got that whole *repentance* thingy down yet. Gingrich is one in a crowd of many millions of pretend Christians who haven't yet grasped the philosophy of true Christianity. Repeat offenders with no remorse . . .

    February 23, 2011 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  17. David Teufert

    Why is this guy even given the time of day? It is unfortunate that he isn't considered irrelevant by EVERYONE.

    February 23, 2011 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  18. jpmichigan

    Ones private life should remain private, only those who are hurt by or suffer due to indiscretion should be concern. We all make mistakes and we then pay for those mistakes. Also one may learn from those mistakes , and help produce a better judgement.

    February 23, 2011 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  19. Indie Woman in Denver

    I don't expect politicians to be perfect - who among us is? - but what I despise about this guy is the utter hypocrisy.

    February 23, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  20. ConservaFascists

    Amen! Allah U Akbhar! All those christian family values the republicans talk about is a farce. They only run on it to win the biblebelt religious fanatics. Once they get elected, it's one big orgy.

    February 23, 2011 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  21. diridi

    Morality is bankrupt....ethics are lost, standard thinking is flown away.....so, this Gingrich is an idiot...do not even pay attention...to this idiot...you are thus wasting your valuable time on this junk, idiot...o.k.

    February 23, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  22. informed voter

    "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." So Gingrich doesn't want to run on his record of infidelity, shutting down the government, and in general, hypocricy. He's not an idiot but he must think American voters are idiots if he thinks he's got a snowball's chance in hell of getting elected for any high office in our great nation. We are not fools, Mr. Gingrich. We have seen your brand of governing and the intelligent voters will continue to reject it and you with it

    February 23, 2011 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  23. proud mother of soldier

    Why are the democrats even asking this question with their history? Don't you remember Clinton, Kennedy, Edwards.....and the lsit goes on!

    February 23, 2011 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  24. Grandma M for Obama

    If Gingrich and/or Palin receive the Republician nomination, then the republicians are just STUPID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! These people are EVIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They want to do harm to the middle class and the poor by taking away what President Obama and the Democrats are trying to restore after 8 years of Republician dictatorship. Does not anyone see waht the Republicians in the House are doing? You wanted change and you got it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 23, 2011 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  25. michael

    newt will never be president ever. he is irrelevant

    February 23, 2011 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
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