Gingrich pressed on affair
February 23rd, 2011
09:29 AM ET
7 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. ZZ

    God might forgive his extramarital affairs but not as a lier.

    February 23, 2011 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  2. joe

    She should feel perfectly fine about herself for asking such an honest question. He is obviously the one who feels ashamed considering he couldnt answer a very simple question.

    February 23, 2011 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  3. Vic of New York

    What gall! Gingrich's past MATTERS because it is indicative of is CHARACTER behavior in the future. Only a gullable dupe would believe that what anyone says (let alone Ginrich) is more believable than their historic behavior.

    This guy is an appalling clown. Not surprising that he is a hero of the Right-Wing Circus.

    February 23, 2011 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  4. Ancient Texan

    Bill Clinton probably had more affairs than Newt, but he's the patron saint of the libs. Could be hypocritical to trash Newt.

    February 23, 2011 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  5. Seriously?

    Loved the question! Hey, Newt – No so high and mighty now, eh? This guy is such a hypocrite. No way he will ever be POTUS. I wouldn't vote for him for dog catcher. But a Gingrich Palin ticket would be sweet in 2012. . . The massacre would be fun to watch!

    February 23, 2011 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  6. Joe

    I wonder which one of his traditional marriages he is trying to protect.

    February 23, 2011 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  7. caseylew

    His response is scary, but the crowd cheering it is scarier. Politicians that resign in disgrace think they can come back and no one will remember the past.

    February 23, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  8. davec.0121

    Another example of Republican family values, of which there are too numerous to name. Don't forget, he was having this affair while at the same time excoriating Bill Clinton for his affair with Monica Lewinsky. In fact, several of the chief Republican moralizers had had affairs (e.g., Henry Hyde). Of course you can say that Newt believes in families – he's already had three. Republican hypocrisy knows no bounds.
    Republican family values: 1) Commit some egregious act (adultery, drug addiction, solicitation) completely at odds with your stated 'values', 2) Apologize publically to your family, voters, etc., 3) Invoke a 'forgiving God' for absolution; 4) Repeat steps 1-3

    February 23, 2011 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  9. Dirk Wladon

    I am honest about this one. Got to pass on judgement. My comments about this fellow would be HYPOCRITICAL since women tend to gravitate toward men with partners. Take sports for an example, if you may. You can be married and ugly and get hit on by a beautiful female. Women just love that 'rush' that they get when they cheat with a man thats committed. Its like a power play move on the wife's property. You can't tell me that all those 'things' didn't konw that TIGER WOODS was married even though he pursued them. "I'M JUST SAYING!"

    February 23, 2011 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  10. Florida Joe

    Right Gingrich, you sure as heck didn't believe in forgiveness for Bill Clinton!!!
    You served divorce papers to your cancer stricken wife in the hospital........WHAT A HYPOCRIT..........You fit right in with the other Repubs....Do as I say, not as I do

    February 23, 2011 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  11. Lynda/Minnesota

    The age old God Forgives Me defense . . . works every time, yes, Newt?

    February 23, 2011 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  12. Dan A

    My question is-What woman in their right mind would want a relationship with a scumball like Gingrich ????

    February 23, 2011 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  13. OneMoreTime

    Wow! I am soooooooooo proud of this young lady. Asking what apparently the highly paid "journalists" are afraid to ask.
    More questions like these, to all who deserve them, would expose the true agenda of the TeaParty/Republicans. The
    truth is slowly seeping out, and isn't pretty. This woman has made my day!!

    February 23, 2011 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  14. Emerson

    His expnanaiton is that he is a Republican and therefore has a Constitutional right be a hypocrite while telling everyone else how to live their lives.

    February 23, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  15. Clint, Wa.

    What he has admitted to having two extramarital affairs, let me guess, his right hand and his left hand.

    February 23, 2011 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  16. William

    "Straight talking Newt" is like other politicians. It is do as I say, not do as I do. Besides, "I am someone special that can do such things without sin".

    February 23, 2011 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  17. BlackPanthers2020

    I just have one question , If your gay , black , asian , hispanic and a memeber of the republican party , how do you live with yourself ? How do you be part of a party that doesn't like you and is totally against what you may stand for , gay people shouldn't be racist , because most of you have expierenced racism . Why would you be part of a party thats exclusionary and you know their agenda is to break the back of middle -class America and to keep giving everything to the wealthy..........................i'm just sayin !!!!

    February 23, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  18. somebody

    Anyone can run for president. Does not mean they have a chance and soem run to be in spotlight. Newt has been out of office many years and is not considered a real viable candidate and has luggage. Where is coverage on Hunsman and Brown and Rubio? However believing in a forgiving God extends beyond just affairs but also to other activities and America (left right center) is no longer as forgiving be it from murder to sex. We now expect anyone convicted of anytype crime that had sex in it to be tattooed with a scarlet S. Guns to school have fit in same way, that anything resembling a gun in even 6 year old is suspension expullision. Forgiveness says left behind and work to not do again but realize we are human and make mistakles and do more than we want and all sin. Newt was a power in early 90s but his 15 minutes is up.

    February 23, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  19. Dr Matrix

    He felt the need to impeach President Clinton for an affair because they couldn't find anything else to pin on him. I guess Democrats affairs are bad and Republican are good. I wish abortion was leagal when his mother was pregnant with him. With a little luck we would be spared his crap.

    February 23, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  20. ziggy

    I find it fascinating that Libs/Socialists/Dems would condem him for his past behavior, I would think you guys would welcome into the fold with open arms. After all this would be a resume enhancer if he where a democrat running for Prez.

    February 23, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  21. NVa Native

    Beady eyed little creep who thinks he some how deserves respect – for what?
    Loser or just failure, doesn't matter so long as he spews hate and fear the tea-baggers love it.

    February 23, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  22. When Worlds Collide

    So, it's OK to willfully break one of the Ten Commandments, twice, and still believe that he is a moral compass. Newt, I think that your compass needle is broken.

    February 23, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  23. Reed

    He has had a ton of issues personally that I and most find hard to get past but I would take him in s second over the pretender we have running the country now. Leaders and Christians unfortunately sin like everyone else. Even Clinton and Kennedy who were great Presidents we known philanderers. Reagan was another great who had his failings. Carter, Bush and Obama have behaved well personally but have been miserable as leaders.

    February 23, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  24. GOP Hate America

    the people will vote against hypocrisy that's the primary concern

    February 23, 2011 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  25. LovesIrony

    Now play the victim.
    I bet your sister is laughing at you

    February 23, 2011 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
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