Gingrich: Reporters more obsessed with six-figure Tiffany bill than 'normal Americans'
May 25th, 2011
04:50 PM ET
12 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. The Real Tom Paine

    Sorry, Newt, but you want to be in the world's most exposed fishbowl, you're going to have to answer questions like this. We're interviewing you for the job, and its the Fourth Estate's job to poke into your private life. Remember, you did it to Clinton, its only fair that you endure the same level of petty scrutiny.

    May 25, 2011 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  2. Paul1st

    And to think that we thought George H.W. Bush was out of touch for not knowing the price of groceries (and his lack of knowledge helped him lose to Clinton.)

    May 25, 2011 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  3. Marie MD

    no newter, it's not just the reproters. I want you to explain to me how a person who has that much money can relate to the vanishing middle class and the poor.
    Your spending habits are yours and if you have the money go for it but please don't insult us!
    Most of the farts in congress have forgotten what it is to be "normal everyday workers". We don't all get free insurance and parking and all the perks that you people in congress do, including a terrific pension and health insurance for life!

    May 25, 2011 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  4. The Other Michael in Houston

    Although I can't stand Newt, I really do not see why this is even an issue. So what he has a revolving account with Tiffany's! If can afford it, whiuch he obviously can, then so what! So for all you blunt burning, tree hugging Libs out there who are making an issue of this, you sound as stupid as the birthers! If you want ot be concerned about something regarding Newt, be concerned about the fact that Newt is a hypocrite. While he was leading the crusade to go after President Clinton for cheating on his wife, Mr. Family values himself was doign the exact same thing.

    May 25, 2011 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

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

    Well, Newtie, old man, fact is normal Americans fully understand that you aren't ever going to become President, and really don't care one way or another what happens in your little world of make believe, or your self absorbing opinions.

    May 25, 2011 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  6. Neil in Haverhill

    Normal Americans are concerned about this. And they are concerned that someone applying for the job of President has a 1/2 million dollar Tiffany's charge card. And journalists can also be "normal Americans." Mr Gingrinch is condescending and flippant. Direct quotes of what he said is a lie and what journalists want to ask him questions about "normal Americans" are interested in. I guess his time traveling abilities and omniscience will come in handy in high office.

    May 25, 2011 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  7. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    "Normal Americans" don't have a "six figure" paying job and many have lost their "six figure" homes. Newt's slapping Americans in the face and calling us stupid at the same time.

    May 25, 2011 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  8. LacrosseMom(real one)

    "The Newt" is doing all he can to stay in front of the Media's attention! Pathetic!

    May 25, 2011 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  9. Jake

    i'm not a reporter, but i do wish i could afford Tiffany!

    May 25, 2011 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  10. Massive Head

    You know a candidate is DOA when she/he starts complaining about the media.

    Its going to fun to see how long Newt flaps around in the hot sun, before he calls it quits.

    What an ego. What a hypocrite. What a huge, fat head.

    May 25, 2011 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  11. Bill

    Does not wash fat man. Get out of the race before you embarass yourself further.

    May 25, 2011 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  12. fernace

    These types of extavagances only goes to show how out of touch politicians are with the average constituent. Newts Tiffany account could've brought a comfortable living to 10 families @ $50,000 per year. I cut & color my own hair & never pay over $25 for shoes! No wonder the government can't balance the budget!!

    May 25, 2011 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  13. lynn

    How dare he act insulted we ask these questions. He's being groomed for the highest office in the U.S., you've got to expect every nook and cranny of your disgusting dirty life will be dug into. Get used to the frying pan before the real fire hits if the GOP is brain dead enough to annoint you their next candidate.

    May 25, 2011 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  14. Me

    You can't run for president and from your past at the same time. People are going to go through your life with a fine toothed comb. They did it to Obama, They did it to Clinton. The only one they didn't do that to was George W. Bush. And yeah, normal Americans want to know why you charge so much at Tiffany's. Ive been in the store. I know what they sell. That's the place you go to buy a gift for your mistress AND your wife. With the amount of money you are charging, I think you are doing both

    May 25, 2011 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  15. once upon a horse

    sorry Newtie but you said yourself when you run for POTUS EVERYTHING is on the table. I agree with him on this though, as long as he and Mrs. Newt are paying the bill I could care less what he owes. Nothing to see here so let's move on.

    May 25, 2011 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "You know a candidate is DOA when she/he starts complaining about the media."

    Nail. Head.

    May 25, 2011 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  17. Ptown

    That is a line of credit so he can bribe his way into office. Who in the world needs 500,000 dollars worth of credit for jewelry?

    May 25, 2011 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  18. Casey

    Well Newt sure loves his 'glitter', doesn't he?

    May 25, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  19. chelle

    I guess Newt doesn't get that if President Obama is considered elite, then his bill at Tiffany's must place him in the "elite" as well.

    May 25, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  20. greyhackles

    If I was the current Mrs. Newt, I'd definitely keep my bags packed for when the next Mrs. Newt arrives on the scene!

    May 25, 2011 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  21. gt

    the media is selling soap... of course they want a show .. the stupid stuff sells.. american cant handel the truth.. we are to soft and want to blame everyone and everything for our short comings..dont cut up my credit card....

    May 25, 2011 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  22. Stephanie

    Live by the sword – DIE by the sword.

    Newt, for most of your adult life, you've been throwing barbs at Democrats over social issues, life style issues, leisure issues. Not so much fun now – IS IT?

    Just admit you are a sactemonious blowhard whose sorry for your hipocracy and this will all go away.

    May 25, 2011 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  23. Jackie

    Why is everyone ignoring the fact that this Tiffany account is to pay for jewelry for his whor...err...mistress...err wife. That woman sure knows how to sleep her way to the top.

    May 25, 2011 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  24. Shannon

    no, not really Newt, if you think that, it just shows how divorced from reality you are. But then, you have a 6 figure Tiffany's bill, you don't live in reallity anyway.

    May 25, 2011 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  25. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    Oh, we care, WE CARE I mean its nice to have the ability to carry that kind of debt on absolutely non essential items, and its great to be able to pay it back (if you can), but you can't have that kind of EXTRANEOUS expense and think, even for a moment that you can identify with us, and/or that we can identify with you.

    May 25, 2011 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
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