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. Peter

    Oh, boo hoo!

    Many on the right kept bringing up Chappaquiddick to Ted Kennedy 40 years later. Even after his death, there were nasty comments on the posting boards as if he never did anything else in his life.

    Sorry, Newt.....goes with the territory.

    March 15, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  2. juliei4

    Remember, Newt – family values, the backbone of the GOP. Too bad they mean do as I say and not as I do. I suppose you do have to go back 20 years or so to talk about when he told his first wife he wanted divorce when she was in the hospital with cancer. Nice guy, that Newt. It's a character issue.

    March 15, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  3. teena

    So, looking at the totality of his life shows that he is a cheat and a liar. And he thinks the rules of morality (which he has used to judge others) DO NOT apply to him. He is of the "do what I say, not what I do ilk" He is NOT a leader or someone who the citizens of this country should emulate! Sorry, Newt I do not buy your lame excuses for your immoral character flaws.

    March 15, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  4. Victor H. Rochester

    What a two face lying scoundrel. Remember how he drug PRESIDENT CLINTON over the "affair coals!"
    He said out right that Clinton should be removed from office. His one time "Daliance" in no way compares
    I bet no one even remembers why "Monica" was in the White House; Republicans had not funded the Government
    and we had "INTERNS" running it all. !

    March 15, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  5. BlackPanthers2020

    This man has a lot of gall . i mean really and you want to be POTUS , what da hell is wrong with people o=in this country !!!!!

    March 15, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  6. Palinwho

    I will consider him if he confesses on national television what he did was wrong to his wife . But he wont bcoz his is a pig

    March 15, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  7. beckster04

    As a Conservative (not Republican) I do not think it is a good idea for Newt to run. While he is probably the most intelligent man who is a potential candidate (he can wipe anyone in a debate and has the best ideas at how to get the country on track) his past will rightfully haunt him. He needs to sit on the sidelines and help the party find a new front runner who will unite, not divide.

    March 15, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  8. Jilli

    Jeez, Gingrich really thinks conservatives are stupid – stupid enough to buy the "I'm so patriotic I cheated on my wife" hooey.

    What a load of crap. But then again, maybe his supporters are buying that tripe but I doubt that many will be dumb enough to fall for it.

    March 15, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  9. michael , MN

    But when Clinton did these things he was the anti christ – not fit to pick up garbage – but when Newt does it he is only a man who just couldn't keep hi weeny from exploring

    March 15, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  10. nobody

    Newt is fundamentally dishonest. While his admission of past deeds is refreshing it is nothing more than a political calculation. I simply do not understand those who would make excuses for his personal affairs. If Newt were running for City council I might, I might give him a pass but POTUS, not a chance. We must remind ourselves that he himself was engaged in extramarital affairs while he sought the impeachment of Bill Clinton for similar conduct. His hypocrisy knows no bounds.

    March 15, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  11. offworld

    Yes, Americans are a fair people. They will look at Gingrich's incredible hypocrisy and take a pass.

    March 15, 2011 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  12. DavidM

    Let's see... multiple instances of bad judgement and moral breakdown in his personal life, and failure to lead his party leading to him stepping down as party head. How's that gonna play to the self-riiteous conservatives who call themselves christians (lower case "c"). Is this the best the Republican party has to offer?

    March 15, 2011 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  13. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    So Newt loses his million dollar jig at Fox and now loses any chance at becoming president. All in all, it has been a good month.

    March 15, 2011 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  14. Jackie O

    I think Gingrich's biggest problem would be his conversion to Catholicism. The Christian Right make up the biggest bloc of Republican voters. When you hear people like the late Jerry Falwell, who is still held in very high esteem by the Christian Right, say that Catholics and Jews are going to hell, Gingrich may suffer the same fate Mitt Romney, a Morman, suffered; many Christian Right voters will refuse to vote for him because of his religeous beliefs. Ignorant, but true.

    March 15, 2011 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  15. Redleg

    The totality of his life? The man worked as a socialist "educator" so he would not have to fight Communism.

    March 15, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  16. BlackPanthers2020

    This is for Joe .................your an idiot !!!!

    March 15, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  17. Observer

    This is a world-class hypocrite who was one of the leaders in trashing Bill Clinton. The hypocrisy of many "family values" "Moral Majority" Republicans is staggering.

    March 15, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  18. Pam

    If he couldn't keep a promise to be faithful to his wife, how can anyone take anything he says seriously?
    Character is part of what voters look at, as it should.
    We judge not by your words but by your actions, past and present.

    March 15, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  19. donna rochester

    Totality of his life? What has the man done other than criticize others and engage in serial affairs and marriages. What a hypocrite! The entire Republican party is composed of immoral hypocrites who commit every sin under the sun, then ask for forgiveness, go out and do it again and run on a platform of "family values". They hold the rest of the country to a higher standard than they do themselves. First I get angry, then sad and ultimately just hopeless since these bottom feeders continue to get elected which says a lot about our country. Very, very sad.

    March 15, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  20. Flipper

    I always enjoy the new "era of civility" that's always on display by left-wingers on these threads. Nothing but ignorant, vile, personal attacks...yet no criticism of specific policy. It makes me sad for the once great Democrat party, and it makes me wonder what moniker that they'll use to describe themselves after they have dragged the title "progressive" through the mud (just as they had done for the term "liberal" before that).

    For all those Gingrich-bashers (I know, this is the CNN website after all), if you defended Bill Clinton and his past indiscretions (including harrassment towards women), how does that not make you a colossal hypocrit?

    March 15, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  21. chechi

    Your past is part of your life and you cannot hide from it. Your 15 minutes of fame are over. You were not good enough then, you are not good enough now. Give it a rest, please !

    March 15, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  22. Patrick

    There is no mitigating response to his behavior; the man is scum.

    March 15, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  23. Liz the First

    i'm sure if President Obama had been unfaithful for a second a couple of decades ago, Gingrich and his repug cronies wouldn't hesitate to beat him over the head with it for the whole duration of the campaign. glad Gingrich isn't trying to make excuses. but it sure sounded like it. 😉

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

    I find the despicable act you did on your 2nd wife the most interesting thing you ever did. You are a negative human being and the explanation you give the public will never do. Wrap yourself in a flag and you still won't make it.

    March 15, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  25. johnRJ08

    Gingrich is a pompous, corpulent, self-absorbed ego-maniac who wants to be President, but who also has the integrity of an alley cat. Whatever he says now about his affairs lacks any credibility. He can't absolve himself of his behavior, not only toward two of his past wives, but also in the Congress itself. As smart as Gingrich is, he has been a total failure at creating positive policies for this country.

    March 15, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
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