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. rhumba

    I hate to say this, but I kind of agree with Newt on this one. The account breaks no laws; it's his money that he can spend as he sees fit.

    May 22, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    When YOU want to run for president, NOTHING IS PERSONAL. We pay dearly to know every secret about you and every other candidate (idiot).

    May 22, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  3. Sgt Schultz

    Womanizing is expensive. Impeaching Clinton for lying about sex while Newt himself was cheating on his own wife = priceless.

    May 22, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  4. GI Joe

    Protesting too much means he's using those gifts as bribes, as the republicans often do.

    May 22, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  5. Proud member of "Global Zero"

    Don't really care about this issue. For as much as he has cheated on his wives and divorced them...he needed this account to make up for his transgressions. He is a liar, a cheat, and a shill for big business. That is what I care about.

    May 22, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  6. they call me "tater salad"

    This guy's a phony, like Mitt Romney, his flag flies in whatever direction the wind happens to be blowing, that's Newt Gingrich's entire story in a nutshell!

    May 22, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  7. Randy

    Another example of a rich, affluent, white Teapublican who thinks he's in touch with Joe and Jane Sixpack, the heart and soul of America. Ha, just a mere $250,000-$500,000 credit line at Tiffany's! He said he "works hard." OK boss, show me the calluses.

    May 22, 2011 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  8. John

    So what you are trying to tell the American People was these 84 Ethics charge Brought against you that forced you to Resign from Congress while you were speaker of the House , much of really pay off. I till say anybody Republican or Democrats has Ethics charges and Forces to resign , Shouldn't be able to run for any Pubic office let a long President. And than you till got to look at that you are a cheat on two wife's.

    May 22, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  9. Jimbo

    Gingrich is an old Washington insider, is rich, and has the morals of a tomcat. Is this what the country really wants or needs right now? If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, etc...

    May 22, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  10. BB

    Newt – Do us ALL a favor. Take it all private & just go away.

    May 22, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  11. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    "We don't do elaborate things", is Newt so out of touch he doesn't understand what $250,000 means to average American, what a slap in the face. There is no way Newt can put a political spin on this in his attempt to put it on President Obama because he's not the one who received the Tiffany jewelry, your wife did Newt.

    May 22, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  12. thomas

    Newt is so out of touch with reality !
    Do as I say , not as I do " Newt ". Who only wants to answer questions regarding helping the American people.

    "We paid no interest on it; there was no problem with it. It's a normal way of doing business," Gingrich said.

    I sure would enjoy the same elitist understanding from my mortgage company !

    Newt is DONE , stick a fork in him and put him on a Bun !

    May 22, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  13. Ruth

    He probably bought something for his next wife.

    May 22, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  14. John Sebastian

    You're trying to run for president of the United States. You have no private life. Newt, wake up and go sit down.

    May 22, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  15. Rob R

    While it is certainly true that Gingrich can do whatever he wants with the money he earns, it only goes to show that he is out of touch with the poor, and uneducated people who he will be pandering to for votes.

    May 22, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  16. Thankfully Independent

    Someone in Newt's staff needs to explain to this clown that since he is seeking a VERY public office this cannot be deemed a private matter just because he says so. The fact that he works hard is not even revelvant to the discussion, what is relevant is the judgement he uses to chose on what he spends his money.

    May 22, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  17. Alan

    I am a big time liberal, but I agree with Newt. It's his private business how he spends his money.

    May 22, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  18. John

    I pray that Newt stays in the race for as long as possible. The longer he pretends to be a credible candidate, the more discredited the GOP becomes.

    May 22, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  19. brian

    Newt also claimed credit for a balanced budget when clinton kicked his butt over the goverment shutdown

    May 22, 2011 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  20. me

    Newt's right. There isn't any thing illegal about this. Except for the hypocrisy, no one should have a problem.

    May 22, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  21. Clwyd

    Right Newt! We are all frugal, but very few of us have up to a half million in credit at Tiffany's. How will you run the country? On credit cards?

    May 22, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  22. anagram_kid

    I wonder if his church is going to bump up his tithe amount when they hear how much he spends on jewelry.

    May 22, 2011 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  23. a in austin

    I say cut off aid to Israel and all other countries. It's time they fend for themselves. Peace talks have been going on for decades. Let them find peace on their own. They do not need our assistance. Americans are hurting – we need the help, not foreigners.

    May 22, 2011 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  24. Indy

    There is no such thing as a private life when you are running for POTUS. Just look at how every aspect of Obamas private life has been ridiculed and investigated and for crying out loud the first lady was ripped apart by many Republicans for wanting children to learn about healthy eating. Newt is one of the most noted people in history for digging into peoples "private matters" and Republicans are the first to attack private matters over policy and plans of their own. Newt is DONE ! Newt cooked his own goose !

    May 22, 2011 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  25. barry hater

    Its none of ours the liberal presses or anybody elses buissness the man works hard for his money and just as long as it was his money no problem

    May 22, 2011 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
1 2