Gingrich on Clinton impeachment, telling the truth
January 25th, 2012
01:23 PM ET
3 years ago

Gingrich on Clinton impeachment, telling the truth

Doral, Florida (CNN) - At a Latino forum Wednesday Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich talked about character and perceived hypocrisy related to his personal history.

Univision anchor Jorge Ramos asked the former House speaker about his role in the impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton in the late 1990s when he was engaged in an extra-marital affair.

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"People think that's hypocritical to criticize President Clinton for doing the same thing that you were doing at the same time," Ramos said to Gingrich at the forum sponsored by Univision Network, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Miami Dade College.

"I didn't do the same thing. I have never lied under oath. I have never committed perjury. I have never been involved in a felony. He was," the former speaker said, referring to the allegations of perjury involving the Paula Jones sexual harassment civil case and Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky.

Gingrich added, "The fact is I've been through two divorces. I have been deposed both times under oath. Both times I told the truth in the deposition because I know that it is – and I'm not a lawyer – I know it's a felony."

In a March 2007 interview with James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Gingrich talked openly about what he was going through personally when he was going after Clinton for his personal transgressions.

"And I drew a line in my mind and again, our listeners may not agree with me. But I drew a line in my mind that said, even though I run the risk of being deeply embarrassed, and even though at a purely personal level I am not rendering judgment on another human being, as a leader of the government trying to uphold the rule of law, I have no choice except to move forward and say that you cannot accept felonies and you cannot accept perjury in your highest officials."

Further speculation about Gingrich's personal past was fueled last week when ABC News aired an interview with his ex-wife, Marianne, who alleged the former speaker proposed an open marriage. Gingrich has lambasted the media while staunchly denying the claim.

Ramos pressed, "Isn't that a fair question about your character?"

"Sure, and the answer is it's not true," Gingrich said. "Did I blame you for asking? No."

"The CNN commentator decided to make it the first question on a national presidential debate. And I thought to myself we got unemployment, we have immigration, we have Afghanistan, we have the price of energy, we have housing problems," Gingrich said. "And these guys think this kind of trash ought to be the first question of the national presidential debate? By the way the audience agreed with me entirely."

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Filed under: 2012 • Bill Clinton • Florida • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. WhereIsPalin

    "I didn't do the same thing. I have never lied under oath. I have never committed perjury. I have never been involved in a felony. He was,"

    When you don't walk down the moral path, then just use the law to make yourself look good.

    January 25, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. Hongli

    Newt might have gotten away with one trying to cover one lie with another but his current wife Carissa knows very well that he was "stirring the pot" while trying to impeach Bill.

    January 25, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  3. testerbill

    Someone needs to tell Newt that it is not a win when 60% of the voters in SC choose someone else. And the way he went about his divorces is the issue, not that he is divorced.

    January 25, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  4. annette

    egotistic hypocrite

    January 25, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  5. Steve- Illinois

    Newt tells it like it is! Ya gotta respect that!
    Meanwhile.....at CNN, John King rushes to interview Pelosi hoping to dig up some dirt on Newt after that spanking on national T.V.!!!

    January 25, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  6. v_mag

    What a nit-picking hypocrite. He lied by omission during the Clinton impeachment. Does he honestly believe that carrying on an affair secretly while spending millions investigating Clinton for the same thing was okay? He certainly didn't disclose his affair during the impeachment, because he knew he would be villified. He didn't tell his wife until he was ready to divorce, so he lied to her the same way. Lie, lie, lie, and he's lying to us right now.

    January 25, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  7. Valentina

    Newt, you are a disgrace to the entire country. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    January 25, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  8. ed galbraith

    Dear Newt: The GOP "audience" may have agreed with you (and only because you took a shot at the media), but millions were watching and millions understand the kind of self-absorbed scum bag you are. Isolating perceived "perjury" as the reason for going after Clinton when you were involved in a scuzzy affair has a bad smell to it.

    January 25, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  9. YOUR CHARACTER

    Character of a humanbeing determines the road before him/her..you past tells or at least gave what you are going to do or may do! Why is the public don't understand this very simple truth!! The fact that he was pointing at Clinton whilde he was doing it at the same time tells a lot about a person character. It's one thing to have pointed finger at Clinton, and it's totaly another THING when you point finger at adultry and fornication, and then the same time doing it. This guy really reminds me of the Pharasiees and Saducees in the time of Jesus, and yet the Chirstian Conservatives in South Carolina voted for the Saduccess and Pharasiees!!

    January 25, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  10. ed galbraith

    Sorry Newt.

    January 25, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  11. insight iowa

    These people don't know the truth. Just because he states he never lied under oath doesn't mean he is tell you the truth!

    January 25, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  12. Rick in AZ

    Newt Gingrich is a VILE man. He had his daughters from his 1st wife try to convince everyone that his 2nd wife was lying about his 3rd wife.

    January 25, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  13. Mike

    Newt your a discrace to all americans!

    January 25, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  14. Jane

    I wont comment on the hypocrisy of this 'explanation', because it's self-evident. I do want to comment regarding Mr. Gingrich's 'outrage' at the first question of the debate: Despite how stupid he (and most of the Republican candidates)thinks we are, it's obvious to any adult here that the question, and the timing of it, was orchestrated by Mr. Gingrich in his ongoing attempt to make these debates not a serious discussion of varying policies and beliefs, but a self-congratulatory sideshow (look how I zinged that stupid librul moderator! listen to all the polysyllabic words I know!). A bonus for Gingrich is that the stooges in the audience are so dazzled by his performance that they don't notice that he NEVER actually answers a question. Meh.

    January 25, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  15. GonzoinHouston

    Hypocrisy is about as common as breathing for a politician, but the Clinton impeachment represented two of the biggest hypocrisies in memory. First is Gingrich's affair at the same time. If you remember, the perjury aspect was rarely mentioned. All they talked about, endlessly, was Cliinton's sexual misbehavior. Ken Starr's report was nearly pornographic in it's graphic detail.

    The second was that Clinton was impeached for lying about his sex life, and W was lionized for lying to start a war.

    January 25, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  16. NVa Native

    Gingeritch was in his second full blown adulterous affair, leaving his second wife in her hospital bed, to get the GOP base all frothy about Clintons one night standing.
    Sleazy is what Gingeritch is good at – that's his history.

    January 25, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  17. ART

    What a sorry excuse for a human being, dumping your two wives both at the time they discovered they were ill. Does this man have no shame, he is totally disgusting

    January 25, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  18. LOL

    its TOTALLY different because of WHO we lied to. Nice one. Such upstanding moral charcter.

    January 25, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  19. OnTheRoad

    Mr. Gingrich states "you cannot accept perjury in your highest officials.", well then that means that no one currently running for our nations highest office should be allowed to hold that office! I sure don't think any of them has never lied to us!

    January 25, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  20. sogoodeb

    I don't believe there is a bigger hypocrite that Newt. He really believes his lies. There's medication for that.

    January 25, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  21. Data Driven

    Clinton was convicted of a felony?

    January 25, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  22. Michael

    Newt Gingrich: Impeaching Clinton while having an affair.....

    January 25, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  23. scmom

    Hypocrite is not in his vocabulary because he is a hypocrite. Who in hell would want this man as their president is beyond any comprehension. All because he has people fooled that he is such a genius and he can get that "Obama" person. So many things happened before the president took office and no one got as mad as their are now because now they have to "take back america". Yeah it will get taken right back to where it was four years ago. America you will get exactly what you want.

    January 25, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  24. David Russell

    Newt says he was telling the truth about his affair when he was deposed in his divorce proceedings. Ok, he may have told the truth after having sworn an oath to tell the truth in front of a court reporter. Did he not also swear an oath to be faithful to his wife? Did he not lie to the public for years by pretending to be married to one wife while having a secret mistress, all the while lecturing liberals about "family values"? Truth? As Al Gore would say, "It's an 'inconvenient' truth."
    I guess it's ok to lie as long as it is not in court. Nice message Newt.

    January 25, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  25. deaner

    Perhaps he didn't break manmade law, but didn't he take a vow, before God, at his first two weddings?

    January 25, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
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