Gingrich: Reporters more obsessed with six-figure Tiffany bill than 'normal Americans'
May 25th, 2011
04:50 PM ET
11 years ago

Gingrich: Reporters more obsessed with six-figure Tiffany bill than 'normal Americans'

Derry, New Hampshire (CNN) – Remember John Edwards' $400 haircut and John McCain's $520 Salvatore Ferragamo shoes from the 2008 presidential race?

Those petty extravagances may have been minor news items revealed during presidential campaigns, but they offered a glimpse into the psyche of both the electorate and the candidate.

So now, could Newt Gingrich's revolving charge account at luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co. – whose balance was between $250,001 and $500,000 in 2005 and 2006 - become the next political tidbit that angers the mighty electorate?

Gingrich doesn't think so. The Republican presidential candidate spoke with reporters after holding a town hall discussion with voters in Derry, New Hampshire, on Wednesday.

"I feel like you are far more fascinated with that than most Americans," Gingrich told reporters. "Normal Americans actually ask about jobs, they ask about energy – they ask about all sorts of things that affect their lives."

Gingrich's big-dollar revolving account with Tiffany & Co. could provide for some water cooler conversation, though.

As some wonder what items were bought to rack up the tab, the jeweler has released a statement providing some clarity.

"Tiffany & Co. offers two forms of credit. The first is a Tiffany revolving credit card agreement with state-specific interest rates," the statement said.

The statement continued: "The second is a Tiffany Time Account. To meet competitive conditions, Tiffany makes Time Accounts available to revolving credit card customers who wish to purchase engagement rings over $1,000 or other merchandise valued over $5,000. On a transactional basis, this program offers interest-free borrowing for up to one year for credit-worthy Tiffany customers."

"All customer information is confidentially held at Tiffany & Co. With the permission of Speaker Gingrich, we can confirm that his Tiffany Time Account has a zero balance and that all payments were made in a timely manner."

Gingrich remains mum about what exactly was purchased at Tiffany. "It's my private life," the former House Speaker told CBS News on Sunday.

"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," referring to himself and his wife. "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 recently discovered from financial disclosure forms pertaining to when Gingrich's wife Callista was an employee for the House Agriculture Committee on Capitol Hill.

–CNN's Gabriella Schwarz contributed to this report

–Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN

Filed under: 2012 • New Hampshire • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. thomas

    Newt , your out of touch , diluted ,arrogant , elitist !
    I don't care what you spend your money on. However if Obama spent at Tiffanys as you have , you would be ripping him to shreds , comparing him to the royal monarchy

    And I do not work for the media .

    May 25, 2011 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  2. The Greedy Old Pigs are out of touch with average Americans!

    Newter seems to think voters don't notice when the cult capitalists are more interested in bling than helping with the problems average Americans face. This is what happens when the GOBP turns into a cult that worships money and power over the poor and working Americans.

    May 25, 2011 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  3. Thankfully Independent

    Not true Newt.

    I am not a reporter, nor am I a liberal or a Democrat. I want to know more about you as a person, and this includes your spending habits, if I am to make an informed decision about my next choice for president in 2012.

    May 25, 2011 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  4. Chalon

    Okay, this much is clear: Paid off or not, he's spent AT LEAST $500,000 on jewelry over the last few years. And he thinks he is very frugal!!!! He doesn't have a clue about the way most of us live.

    May 25, 2011 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  5. Dan

    Well of course he doesn't know think us "normal" Americans don't worry about it... When your time is spent courting the press and separating yourself from normal folks, you lose track of how those little people think.

    May 25, 2011 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  6. Jennifer

    Interesting how the article carefully left out the Obama's extravagances.

    Dates nights jetting off to paris, new york and other locales.
    A week in Spain while the country is still suffering crippling unemployment and most Americans can't afford a weekend to the nearest camping ground.
    Michelle Obama prancing around in $775 boots to break ground on her garden.
    Trips to Martha's Vineyard when the southern half of the US was suffering from the worst oil spill in US history.
    Jetsetting off to Europe while tornados and floods and fires are wracking the country.

    Strange the article carefully left those out.

    May 25, 2011 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  7. pccel

    I'm sorry, Newt, but a Tiffany bill of $250-500,000 is not living frugally.

    May 25, 2011 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  8. Stacey, Connecticut

    "Normal Americans actually ask about jobs, they ask about energy – they ask about all sorts of things that affect their lives."

    Yeah Newt. We Americans ask about the sort of things that you and the GeedOverPeople folks don't give a hoot about. And Newt – LOL. What a imbecillic hypocrit this guy is! I remember the gop accusing Obama of being an elite. Gingrinch and the GOP are a bunch of lyng, sleazy hypocrits who want to tear down the middle class and obliterate the poor. This has been their goal for decades.

    May 25, 2011 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  9. Kenny

    Sorry Newt. Wrong answer. You and others used the term "Elite" in an effort to make the President look like a wasteful spender while you fail to realize that a Credit line of half a million dollars on a charge account is one reserved for "You Elite".

    May 25, 2011 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  10. rs

    Oh, I dunno, Newt. Most Americans don't have a 6-figure line of credit- much less just for Tiffany's.

    So, just how close ARE YOU to "normal" Americans?

    May 25, 2011 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  11. Roscoe

    Newt is missing the point. Americans like people who are humble and excercise good decision making. Newt has made terrible decisions throughout his life and the Tiffany's account shows a real disconnect with how normal people live and certainly is not humble. Newt's all about himself and this show that pretty clearly.

    May 25, 2011 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  12. Diana

    His wife looks like a plastic Barbie.
    What irresponsible spending on oneself. It speaks volumes about a man whose wife spends that much on herself.

    May 25, 2011 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  13. Roscoe

    Spending $500k on his wife is a more of a waste of money that all the stimulus packages combined. HIs wife should be bobbing for apples at Walmart.

    May 25, 2011 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  14. Roscoe

    Could be the Tiffany's account is for the next wife. He needs to keep that line of credit in never know when the next one will show up.

    May 25, 2011 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  15. Aaron

    What does Gingrich expect? He has more in Tiffany charges than the average American makes in 10-20 years. Why anyone who want to vote a millionaire into office is beyond reason. Elect someone who will look after the average guy, not the wealthiest 2%. Then, they feed that nonsense that the wealthy will spend money, and the 21st century version of the peasant may be lucky enough for a very small amount of their wealth to trickle down to them.

    May 25, 2011 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  16. Aaron

    Gringrich could also offer some clarification. Were the charges just for whomever his current wife is....or do his mistresses charge on his account at Tiffany's also?

    May 25, 2011 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Tiffany sells more than jewelry. But, hey, if Newt wants to keep it a secret, I say let him. He has bigger problems that he can be confronted about. He should be glad the press is hunkering down on a non-issue. In fact, he is sly enough to ride this out by playing victim. Like I said, let him keep his secrets.

    May 25, 2011 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  18. XWngLady

    Oh right...and where was the criticism with the media when they were incessantly giving voice to the foolishness of the birthers or the Muslimers hell bent on proving that our President is "not one of us"? I didn't hear any complaints from you then Newt.

    May 25, 2011 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  19. they call me "tater salad"

    Elitist is as elitist does!

    May 25, 2011 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  20. donald

    How does he get a interest free loan of 500,00. This is what should be investagated for a political gift for favors to his wife.

    May 25, 2011 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  21. chris24


    just waiting for the "poof" and gingrich will be done.

    then, sarah sixpack

    May 25, 2011 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  22. JDinAustin

    500k account at Tiffany?! Wow, that explains how the, um, young Mrs Newt is with this old blowhard. Newt is a failed family man, a failed politician, who either has a penchant for glitter or has discovered potential young Mrs Newts like things that sparkle. His ex wives sure don't want him by, why would anyone else?

    May 25, 2011 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  23. Old Artillery Man

    Newt says he is very frugal. I am also; I have to be as I am retired. Does being frugal mean I can get the same credit as he?

    May 25, 2011 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  24. max

    I want to know why Tiffany gives this guy a half million dollars worth of "no intrest" credit. Money laundering I imagine.

    May 25, 2011 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
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