Gingrich explains Tiffany credit as 'private' matter
May 22nd, 2011
01:07 PM ET
11 years ago

Gingrich explains Tiffany credit as 'private' matter

Washington (CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich would not say on Sunday what he purchased at Tiffany & Co. jewelry store to rack up a $250,000-$500,000 credit because "It's my private life."

The former House Speaker said he works very hard and is allowed to choose how he spends his money.

"All I'm telling you is we are very frugal, we in fact live within our budget, we owe nothing," Gingrich said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "As a private citizen whose done well I think I'm allowed to pick and choose what I prefer doing."

The revolving charge account was discovered this week from financial disclosure forms for 2005 and 2006 while Gingrich's wife, Callista was an employee for the House Agriculture Committee on Capitol Hill. The former Georgia Congressman said it was an interest free account, paid off automatically.

"We paid no interest on it; there was no problem with it. It's a normal way of doing business," Gingrich said. "Everything else is totally paid for, my home is paid for, my cars are paid for, we don't have a second house, we don't do elaborate things."

He used his personal financial situation to tout his record and readiness to be president.

"I think I have proven I can manage money, as a small businessman, I run four small businesses, they have been profitable, they've employed people you know, this is the opposite of the Obama model," Gingrich said. "I'm the guy running for president who pays all of his bills … I am debt free. If the U.S. government were as debt free as I am everybody in America would be celebrating."

He also continued his criticism of Obama's policy toward Israel and his speech Thursday in which he called for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations to start from pre-1967 borders and include land swaps.

"I think it's a disaster, I think it's extraordinarily dangerous. I think that if, defining the 1967 border would be an act of suicide for Israel. They are totally non-defensible," Gingrich said. "The president talks about peace when he ought to be insisting that we cut off all aid to Hamas and isolate Hamas as long as it is a terrorist organization trying to destroy an entire people. I really think we've got to get over this moral equivalence thing. There is no moral equivalence between a Democratic society and a terrorist group."

- CNN’s Robert Yoon and Kevin Bohn contributed to this report

Filed under: 2012 • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. T'sah from Virginia

    ["As a private citizen whose done well I think I'm allowed to pick and choose what I prefer doing."]

    For ONCE – ginGRINCH is right – it is a PRIVATE matter.

    The RICH lives like that and have no worry or care in the world. Gas prices don't effect them nor the high cost of food and health care!! This has to be the reason why they want to continue to have TAX BREAKS for them and for the corporations that they own so they can continue to LIVE LARGE!!!

    May 22, 2011 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  2. duke

    Of course you "owe nothing",for the past 35years you've been living of the same money that your friend claim to protect(tax payer money)
    I would owe nothing if me and my family and friends were the ones crafting the laws and policies,and being payed big big money from the corporations that my laws and policies greatly benefited!
    Oh yeah I'd also owe nothing if I had as many hard working people who "donated" to you?
    We the People really need to wise up to these people!

    May 22, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  3. paul

    I, I, I. Wow, Newt you are perfect in your own mind. When a candidate says it was a private matter, it usually means there is something else going on, otherwise he wouldn't be afraid to show the details.

    May 22, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  4. Johnson

    WOW, he has more credit @ Tiffany's than I have in total assets. Now you know why politicians fight soooooooo hard to get elected and it aint for the people. Look at their base salaries and then try to explain where the rest of the money came from. These people get very rich off of the little man. They smile in your face while the are lying to you, the dumb part of our society actually believe them.

    May 22, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  5. jules sand-perkins

    Mr. Gingrich is absolutely correct about Tiffany: his account there is his business alone. It's a wonderful store. When I moved to New York, they would accept personal checks just because the customer had a banking account.
    The store has become slightly less pleasant as many New Yorkers have become much less respectable.
    I disagree with Mr. Gingrich about Palestinian borders. If we improve our relations with Arab states, we won't have to appease Israel's needs and demands so heartily to protect our oil interests in that region.
    I do not support Mr. Gingrich's presidential candidacy. Although I am registered as a Republican, I support another term for President Obama.

    May 22, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  6. lynn

    As a candidate for the White House, you don't have a private life - from your birth certificate to what you eat. If Newt spends that kind of money at Tiffany's, somebody he buys for has very expensive taste. How can he possibly relate to us common folk who buy their jewelry from Macy's or the mall jewelry store?

    May 22, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  7. Rosslaw

    I guess Newt doesn't know that the Bush administration already cut off all aid to Hamas after they won the Gaza elections which the Bush administration pushed in the face of the PA's and Isreali's warnings that Hamas would win the Gaza elections. This guy also sounds a heck of a lot like former faux candidate Ronald McDonald and how many billions he supposedly has.

    May 22, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  8. duke

    Conservative's just doing their part to further along capitalism and the free market??
    Here in lies the problem!
    Every politician who want your vote has nothing in common with you the voter??
    How can you be of such great wealth and really expect me to think you can understand a single mother/father who struggle to pay their bills even with a job and public assistance and NO extra curriculum activities?
    Oh and just because you were a successful businessman does Not mean you'll be a good politician!

    May 22, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  9. Glenc

    The sharks are circling. He is flip-flopping on everything and putting blocks up around his private life. The man ran up a half million in debt and wants access to the American budget? I don't think so. Won't get my vote.

    May 22, 2011 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  10. OneMoreTime

    Saw the interview – he's still digging.

    May 22, 2011 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  11. MICK

    Newt when running for president you don't have a private life. We want to know about all the garbage in your past including
    lavish purchases. If you want the conservative vote explain your divorces. I will admit I would find it hard to support anyone
    for president that cheated on a wife.


    May 22, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  12. Chris

    So when Clinton had an affair – Gingrich led the crusade to impeach the President. But when Gingrich blows half a million on jewelry its a private matter.

    May 22, 2011 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  13. Tired of the nonsense

    Newt, Newt, Newt - you chose to be a public figure. That means you don't have a private life.

    Absolutely everything in your life is fair game for scrutiny.

    And you know what they say - if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

    May 22, 2011 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  14. Len Smith

    Why doesn't Newt listen to what the President of the United States says about Israeli peace process. They have to start somewhere and other administrations have proposed the same start. So, Newt, instead of bad mouthing, help get it started.

    May 22, 2011 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  15. Snow

    It is no ones business how an individual spends his/her money. At least he is spending his "own" money and not obama wasting our tax dollars.

    May 22, 2011 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
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