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. TW

    Michael likes his "honesty". I don't think his former wives do.

    March 15, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  2. dude

    "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."

    that is just about the most ridiculous excuse for cheating on your wife that I have ever heard. And they say that gay marriage will destroy the institution of marriage - seems like Newt, and others who so callously do such, are doing more to destroy marriage than any gay person I know.

    March 15, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  3. AndyG

    Gingrich talked about how "things happened in my life that were not appropriate".

    The man haggled over details of his divorce with his wife while she was lying in a hospital bed recovering from cancer surgery. I can thing of many phrases to describe that sort of behavior, but "not appropriate" would not be one of them. Perhaps "devoid of any soul or humanity"?

    March 15, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  4. MarcyD

    Everyone is entitled to making mistakes. However, He sure made an issue out of Bill Clintons infidelity with Monica Lewinsky while he was having his own affairs. Hypocritical to say the least.

    March 15, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. skynyrt

    He has done nothing that Bill Clinton has not done.

    March 15, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |

    Give it up, Mr. Gingrich. Like, Palin, you too are toast! Character counts and this guy has no concept of loyalty or commitment. What part of his marriage vows were unclear the first time? And the second time? Go away, loser.

    March 15, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  7. Tony

    This guy has the character of a slug...multiple affairs while married, serving his wife with divorce papers while she was in the hospital with cancer, multiple ethics violations, the definition of partisanship....He is just plain scum. Why would anyone support him?

    March 15, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  8. Tina in NC

    I'm fair and I think it's fair to say than when your are trying impeach a President for having an affair while you are having an affair you're a hypocrite.

    March 15, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  9. e01938

    interesting how "live and let live" these Repubs are with themselves and their party. Too bad the same logic doesn't apply to others...

    March 15, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  10. Yikes

    When a person shows you who they are believe them.

    March 15, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  11. Byrd

    Fine. The let's schedule a debate between him and his ex-wives. That should be interesting and informative.

    March 15, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  12. Dick

    Here's a fine example of a hypocrite, his picture should be in the dictionary. He and fellow Republicans went after Clinton over the "Monica" deal, spent $26 million trying to impeach a President over his "affair" and did it all while he was screwing around on his wife. How he could look at himself in the mirror is beyond me. Lying seems to be the only thing he's good at.

    March 15, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  13. trainwreck

    was he a supporter of all this "defense of marriage" baloney telling gays theyre ruining the sanctity of marriage? hmmm ...was he in the flogging line trying to get clinton? hmmm...

    March 15, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  14. Dan

    Gingrich is a pig, but I would like to know how an ugly little troll like him gets as much action as he does.

    March 15, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  15. MontanaMan

    Is there any difference between John Edwards and Newt? As a former supporter of John Edwards, i think not. i wouldn't vote for either of them.

    March 15, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  16. The Choobs

    Newt would like us to forget not only that he had affairs (breaking important lifelong promises) but that he delivered the breakup news to his first wife while she was in the hospital. And that he seems to leave older, sicker wives for younger, healthier ones. And that somehow this doesn't reflect on how he will treat the American public. Yeah, right. One thing we've heard from R's for decades is that personal values matter. Well, do they or don't they? Hard to say in a field crowded with a serial spousal cheater, a gov't quitter, Birther-baiters, etc.

    March 15, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  17. Millie Bea

    Oh- so as long as you apologize after every affair, and adulterous situation- then it's OK- your slate is wipred clean? And it happened because he had a "passion" for the work he was doing? This man thinks the electorate is stupid. Then he says he is goung to form a group to explore the idea of possibly floating his name a s potentially serious candidate- wow, now that's decisiveness- that's leadership- maybe in ToyStory 4.

    March 15, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  18. jason

    Newts a fool if he thinks he has a chance in hell at the presidency – actually i dont believe he's that stupid and that's the reason why he hasnt run in the past few cycles. He knows better. I personally think he's a smart guy and he's got a lot of practical, innovative ideas when it comes to economic development, but morally and socially he's a hack.

    March 15, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  19. jonny

    This guy is repugnant.

    March 15, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  20. Alverant

    joe 12:43 pm
    And the fact Gingrich does not separate his personal life from his public life is why he must hold him accountable for his words and actions. It's not the affairs most people object to, it's the IOKIYAR attitude we get from conservatives.

    March 15, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  21. Elphaba

    It was very benevolant of Santorum to say what he said. I think it's because he believes what most voters believe; Gingrich is a dinosaur. His politics were very relevant twenty years ago, but he can't compete with the new Young Lions of the Republican Party, of which Santorum can be included. Unfortunately for Gingrich, McCain showed us all in 2008 that when your politics are based on twenty years of experience, it's time to consider new solutions, not trued and failed old ones. Although his Contract With America was relevant at the time, we are not riding the crest of the dot com surge, as we were in the nineties. It was time to move on from the Gingrich oplicy era at least ten years ago.

    March 15, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  22. Gina

    Funny, the Republicans took no time in interrogating Bill Clinton about his personal life. I guess character only counts if you're a democrat, if you're a Republican than who cares right? And I know Clinton lied under oath but he should never have had to testify about his personal life in the first place. And I'd much rather have a person be president who had an infidelity here or there and not leave a sick wife for another woman. And by that I mean Edwards AND Gingrich.

    March 15, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  23. JoeT

    So Newt wants us to view the "totality" of his life? Fair enough– they totality of this guy's life shows that he's a tool.

    March 15, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  24. indydave

    "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."

    I can hardly believe this. 'I felt so passionately and worked so hard that my dingus slipped out of my pants and into that younger, blonder woman over there!' Gawd, what a crass piece of s,... spin.

    It's a shame, Newt, that you turned out to be such a hypocrite, because I really do believe you're not as stupid as the majority of Republican hopefuls this year. But, man, for a not-stupid person, you've sure said some stupid, hypocritical things. And a REPEATED pattern of cheating is just not going to look good, no matter what.

    March 15, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  25. Newt's Little Helper

    It's up to us to save Newt from himself. Lord knows he would work so hard for the country and love America so much that he would screw himself to death.

    March 15, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
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