Gingrich responds to criticism of affairs
March 15th, 2011
11:32 AM ET
12 years ago

Gingrich responds to criticism of affairs

(CNN) - Newt Gingrich may not have officially announced a run for president, but he was already preparing for character attacks from his opponents in a radio interview Monday night.

"I expect my opponents to go back 15, 20, 25 years and try to render an alternate judgment I understand that's what they'll do," the former House Speaker told WRKO radio host Howie Carr, referring to his previous marital infidelity and how it might affect a bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

Gingrich, who has been married three times and admitted to past infidelities, responded to criticism he sidestepped responsibility for his affairs in an interview with CBN reporter David Brody last week. Gingrich told Brody he was "partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate."

During Monday night's WRKO interview, Gingrich said, "I'm not blaming my life on anyone, and I'm not offering excuses."

"I've made no bones about the fact there were times I did the wrong thing, and I've made no bones about the fact that I've asked for forgiveness," Gingrich said.

There is at least one potential 2012 GOP presidential opponent who is already weighing in as to how Gingrich's past will play into the campaign.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum said in a interview with National Review Online earlier this week that Gingrich's personal history, while relevant, should not be the main focus.

"He, like we all do, will have to account for our past decisions. People will take (his past) as a legitimate issue to consider, as to how it would affect his ability to do his job," Santorum said. "I am not saying that is not a legitimate question, but it's not an issue with respect to the positions he takes."

Gingrich was upbeat on how voters would ultimately judge his fitness for office.

"I think most Americans are fair," he said. "And I think most Americans will look at the totality of my life."

Filed under: 2012 • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (269 Responses)
  1. Jay

    Newt, if you will lie to those closest to you, and you have shown a marked propensity for that - in fact, because you've done so on repeated ocassions, you seem to be a serial liar - why should we think you won't hesitate to lie to all of us Americans whenever you think you can? My guess is you're lying when you say you won't lie, and there is no way in hell I'm voting for you.

    March 15, 2011 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  2. once upon a horse

    II agree that everybody makes mistakes and forgiveness should be in order, the problem I have with it is with the far right and some members of the GOP this only applies to them. Could you imagine if President Obama had had the same baggage that Newt has if he would have gotten elected? HECK NO!! The religious right would have attacked him, the right wing talk show hosts would have done the same, and I bet women like Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann would talk about how he treated his former wives and make quite an issue of it as a woman's mistreatment. Of course so far from many on the right you hear crickets. I just wonder how long that will last.

    March 15, 2011 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  3. Sterling

    The totality of Newt Gingrich's life is this: he was a hypocrite for trying to make political hay of Clinton's misbehavior in the face of is own greater misbehavior. That he was an egotist who led a government shutdown partly on the basis of feeling personally snubbed, and pushed a "Contract For America" based more on the shopping list of special interests than the needs of his constituents. That he was a mean-spirited troll who wanted to put the children of the poor into orphanages and served his wife with divorce papers as she lay in a hospital bed recovering from cancer. The "totality" of Gingrich's life is that he needs to show he's changed completely before anyone should let him near a position of power again, and that he would gloss over the awful human being he's been in the past points to the conclusion that he has failed to do so.

    March 15, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  4. Bill

    I agree with Newt's closing remarks. We WILL "look at the totality" of his life and determine that he is unfit to be POTUS. Go back to your burrow, Newt.

    Obama/Biden 2012.

    March 15, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  5. The Other Dale

    Yeah, most Americans are fair, Newt. Which is why you don't have a chance to be even nominated, much more elected.

    Oh, and another awkward sidestep about the questions being asked here. People keep hitting you with this because you obviously can't face the idea of what a hypocrite you are. How can Republicans feel comfortable with someone who has this type of baggage that destroys his message while at the same time support birthers who have to make up falsehoods about someone in order to find outrage?

    March 15, 2011 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  6. Gary, Hunt Valley, Md.

    Can't wait to hear Newt's speech as he bows out of the race. I figure after a handful of primaries give him an average percentage of votes in the single digits, he'll blame everyone but himself. He is a relic with nothing more to offer than bombastic phrases. Newt, down the road please tell us what it's like to be rendered IRRELEVANT.

    March 15, 2011 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  7. Tom from Canonsburg

    This is so typical. Newt wants us all to forget that both he and the GOP were going after Clinton for the same thing. Having an affair that is. This man insured that the President was distracted from working on the nation's problems to some extent. The man is a hypocrite.

    March 15, 2011 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  8. Bill

    Hey Newt, it goes to the character and judgement issue and yours stinks. By the way, these are both qualities people want in a president. Give it up and go write another book.

    March 15, 2011 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  9. JV

    Funny how republicans hold character to a different standard when it comes to their transgressions

    March 15, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  10. slambo8

    GinnGrinch is right – we will take a look at his past. Three wives – each a step on the other – while attacking a sitting president for the same infidelities – shows character alright- and what has the Gnewt really done for America? What is his record? What kind of money has he mongered out of his political life while abandoning the people who put there trust in him – professionally, politically and personally. Rather than saying his past "caring for America" shows character – how about "what a character'"-who cares for money and strange women over serving sincerely and being loyal to his country and family.- . Politically the GinnGrinch represents the ideology-that got us into the shape that we are in today. He is a "say what he thinks they want to hear" polcat -while listening only to his own driven ambitions as they rumble around in drifting soul. The very definition of a despot. A vote for the Gnewt would just be another hand full of nails for the coffin – to elect him would be to place this country inside and nail it shut. Elect the GinnGrinch with a majority of like minded little Gnewts would mean buring this country six feet under. Course – Gnewt is always pitching something you could call a "Gnewt deal" – with a "Promise" coiined with some new slogan promising his Gnewt vision. Listen to him pander to the Christian right with his "asked for forgiveness" rhetoric. God Please help us.

    March 15, 2011 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  11. SayWhat

    "And I think most Americans will look at the totality of my life."

    And just how is that going to help you?

    March 15, 2011 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  12. JPX

    I love how Republicans twist legitimite concerns/questions into "attacks" by Democrats (e.g. Sarah Palin feeling attacked by Katie Couric when Couric asked extrememly reasonable questions). The fact is that the loathesome Gingrich has been married 3 times and he served his last wife with divorce papers while she recovered from cancer. Raising questions about this guy's ethics is not an attack it's entirely reasonable.

    March 15, 2011 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  13. Lynda/Minnesota

    "I think most Americans are fair," he said. "And I think most Americans will look at the totality of my life."

    Yep. Probably not quite the way he'd want us to, though. Problem is, Newtie, when you spend the totality of your life creating hurt and angst, for not only your various wives, but also considering your divisivisness in addressing those of us opposed to your *ideas*, your past does . . . sometimes . . . come back to haunt you, yes, Newtie?

    March 15, 2011 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  14. Vince

    I don't care if it was 100 years ago. You don't get to be taken seriously in regard to "sanctitiy of marriage" speak when you can't demonstrate it yourself.

    March 15, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  15. kurtinco

    Please, oh my goodness, please let Newt run. He is the very definition of republican hypocrisy at its finest. America just needs a little reminder. I wonder how he’ll fair when the character assignation really heats up. What a piece of…work.

    March 15, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Amazing, but he's still sidestepped the whole thing, refusing to take responsibility for his actions.
    But i guess since he's asked forgiveness, that it's all ok.....

    Newt : " yes, i know i was sleeping with my mistress and cheating on my wife at the same time I was trying to have Clinton impeached for cheating on his wife....but it was ok when i did it, not ok when he did it. "

    Hypocrite – actually, nothing that any of the other senators or congressmen wouldn't do, or say to the public's face, while doing whatever they want behind closed doors.

    March 15, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  17. Freedom1

    Why is it that the people that claim to be the holy'est of hoy'ies turn out to be twisted sicko perverts while regular non religous people live a normal life?

    March 15, 2011 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  18. roro

    What a sleazebag!! The gall of him blaming his infidelities on his love of country and hard work!! And engaging in these infidelities while trying to impeach Clinton!! Only the rightwing Christian nut jobs think they can get away with this stuff. His mea culpas are a joke. He is the biggest hypocrite on the stump today, topping even Hucklebee and the nitwit Bachmann.

    March 15, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  19. steven

    If the man cant get his private life in order how in hell can one expect him to deal with the affairs of is not like the man made one mistake and then made changes in his life to repair his problems...but not Newt...he went on to make the same mistakes again..and then would think that the three strikes your out would apply. Mamanging ones own llife is much less complicated than running the affirs of 350 million citizens of the united states. i think that the man is immoral and not fit to be in president one cannnot afford to make 3 mistakes

    March 15, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  20. Chas in Iowa

    Newt's infedelity is not the issue with me. It is the fact he was actively trying to prosecute somebody else for the same thing at the very same time he was commiting the same crimes. Kinda hipocritical in my mind. He seems to have the same old GOP attitude that the laws and morals of this country don't apply to him and his group.

    March 15, 2011 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  21. Former Republican, now an Independent

    The current day neo-con republicans don't believe ethics and morals apply to them. They see themselves as elite politicians, and the advocates of the upper class wealthy minority, who want to control the country.

    March 15, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  22. Seth

    Not a chance in hell Newt.

    March 15, 2011 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  23. Marie MD

    It's not just your opponents who are going to go back 15, 20, 25 years you moron!
    Of course you just gave the best reason NOT to be president. If you worked too hard (lol) as speaker in congress csn you imagine how many mistresses you would need if you were in the White House? Yes, Americans are fair but you are a lying cheater whi thinks that you can come back riding your white horse. Pathetic!!!

    March 15, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  24. bearced

    It's not the affairs Newt, Its the hypocrasy!

    March 15, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  25. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    The "opponents" Newt speaks of are of the American people both Democrats and Republicans. Heck, we can't call Newt's now wife the "First Lady" but how about the "Third Lady", that way it wouldn't further add insult to the First wife.

    March 15, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
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