December 12th, 2011
02:30 PM ET
9 years ago

Gingrich promises 'personal fidelity' in pledge

(CNN) - Newt Gingrich stepped up his efforts to appeal to evangelical Christian voters in Iowa Monday by promising in writing to "defend and strengthen the family."

Gingrich, who has been married three times, specifically said he would "uphold the institution of marriage through personal fidelity to my spouse and respect for the marital bonds of others."

Gingrich made the pledge to The Family Leader, a socially conservative group based in Iowa. The organization has its own Marriage Pledge that other 2012 White House hopefuls have signed, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

Gingrich did not sign The Family Leader's pledge himself, but did provide a lengthy written response to the organization. The former House speaker said he was fully committed to defending traditional marriage, including enforcing the Defense of Marriage Act and supporting a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and woman.

Gingrich also used his pledge to lambaste what he called an intrusion of federal courts in the private lives of Americans, saying the phenomenon "amounts to a constitutional crisis."

In a statement accompanying Gingrich's pledge, Family Leader President and CEO Bob Vander Plaats welcomed the former House speaker's commitment.

"We are pleased that Speaker Gingrich has affirmed our pledge and are thankful we have on record his statements regarding DOMA, support of a federal marriage amendment, defending the unborn, pledging fidelity to his spouse, defending religious liberty and freedom, supporting sound pro-family economic issues, and defending the right of the people to rule themselves," Vander Plaats said.

In November, the group said it had narrowed the list of candidates it might endorse to four: Gingrich, Perry, Bachmann and Santorum.

Political observers have long questioned Gingrich's appeal to socially conservative Christian voters because of his multiple marriages. The pledge made Monday came after Perry questioned Gingrich's marriages at a Republican primary debate in Iowa Saturday.

Perry warned that a politician who was unfaithful to his wife might also cheat in other ways, adding, "if you cheat on your wife, you'll cheat on your business partner, so I think that issue of fidelity is important."

Gingrich took the criticism in stride, saying "I've made mistakes at times. I've had to go to God for forgiveness. I think people have to measure who I am now, and whether I'm a person they can trust."

Also see:

Romney fires back, works to appeal to everyday Americans

With 3 weeks until caucuses, Gingrich remains on top in Iowa polls

Huntsman defector faults candidate's N.H. strategy

Gingrich challenges Romney to a bet

Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (378 Responses)
  1. dan

    Newt, as a fellow Republican I plead with you, please just go away.

    December 12, 2011 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  2. TXJim

    Newt Gingrich.. the gift that keeps giving.. Go ahead and win the nomination..

    It will make it that much easier for Pres. Obama in the general election.. The commercials will be really easy by the PAC's that support Obama..

    "President Obama.. one wife... Newt Gingrich.... three wives... two mistresses.. two affairs.. which one do you trust?"

    December 12, 2011 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  3. us1776

    It seems Republicans cannot behave properly without first taking some type of "pledge".


    December 12, 2011 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  4. Zenichi-Maro

    The hubris of Gingrich–that serial adulterer gasbag that he is–talking about fidelity is only outmatched by the audacity of the Family Leader admonishing the government to "respect the right of people to rule themselves" whilst at the VERY SAME TIME advocating for restrictive government laws that would do precisely the opposite (i.e. dictate who may marry whom).

    I am sickened by both parties in this farcical exchange. Would this have appeared in the Onion, my laughter perhaps would not be so rueful. As this is, apparently, a story meant in utter seriousness, I find myself wishing for a strong drink and a long nap.


    December 12, 2011 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  5. Rick

    I wish the GOP would all just take a pledge to go away.

    December 12, 2011 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  6. Woman In California

    mac58 wrote:

    He will get my vote. He is one of the few politicians that don't claim to walk on water. Over 55 % of marriages end and it really doesn't matter why as marriage today is no more sanctified than a bowel movement thanks to women and their confusion as to their womanhood. Women today have forgotten what it is TO BE A WOMAN, mother, and a wife.

    I'm assuming you are a man. IF so, when men started to depend on their wife, mother, girl friend, lover, etc., for a paycheck they LOST all their manhood. Please read the definition of a man.

    December 12, 2011 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  7. EdSantaFe

    What a bunch of HOG WASH

    December 12, 2011 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  8. Mark

    Wow, like he would have said the same thing any other year. The Family Leader is expecting the candidates to sign a Pledge. I find that somewhat offensive, as if that organization feels that a candidate should be beholden to them.

    December 12, 2011 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  9. Kwesoe

    There must be something about being President that makes one to lie through his teeth just to be elected to that office. But when Evangelicals begin to cohabit with a Catholic just win votes, there is something very wrong with the presidency.

    December 12, 2011 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  10. Maryellen

    Calista our First Lady, just the thought of it sickens me. We don't need a tramp and a hypocrite in the White House!

    December 12, 2011 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  11. mabel floyd

    thhis tbagger bunch overlooked the fact that he was thrown out of the leadership and thrown out of congress by his own party and fined $300,000.00 for fraud and ethics violations? this alone should keep him out of the consideration of any elected office. this man is trash. the fact that he calls himself brilliant and a "historian" is a joke-and so is he.

    December 12, 2011 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  12. Democrats answer to everything, TAX THE RICH, TAX BUSINESS

    Isn't Newt just a Republican version of Bill Clinton??? If you excused Clinton's behavior, you need to excuse NEwt's or you're a hypocrite.

    December 12, 2011 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  13. TM

    How can you on one hand vow to "defend the right of people to rule themselves" (aka small government) and on the other support the right of the government to unilaterally intervene into the most personal choices that someone could possibly make (the choice of whom to marry and the choice of how and when to have children)?! Government doesn't get any bigger than when it invades our lives in that way. Perhaps these people should finally wake up to the FACT that freedom OF religion MUST BY DEFINITION also include freedom FROM religion. Henry Ford famously said "you can have ANY color Model T you want, so long as it is black." These hypocrites are saying "you can have freedom of ANY religion you want, so long as WE APPROVE OF IT."

    December 12, 2011 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  14. Jim

    "I'd just love to know how many of the people in here attacking Newt for his past marriages are themselves divorced!! "

    I'm divorced but I never cheated on my ex-wife and never considered it. I don't care if Newt was divorced, I care that he thought little enoug of his ex-wives to cheat on them. I also find it highly amusing that he is against government intrusion into people's private maybe abortion? Naw..that intrusion is fine apparently. Talk about hypocrisy....

    December 12, 2011 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  15. Ron

    LOL. Didn't he try that THREE TIMES before?!! (Wives 1, 2, & 3) LOL!! This election is so over. Obama/Biden 2012!!

    December 12, 2011 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  16. GunnerGA

    Instead of asking G-d for forgiveness, perhaps asking the wives you cheated on and the wife you serve divorce papers to while she was in the hospital. Real contrition does not come from prayer but from showing contrition and asking forgiveness by those whom you have hurt.

    December 12, 2011 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  17. LetsBeCivil

    C'mon Newt: Prove me to be a liar: Publically support my marriage and the marriage of the other 18000 gay California couples... then I'll beleive you.

    December 12, 2011 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  18. Steve

    It isnt that Ginrich is divorced 2 times. Its the hypocrasey he spent years wailing against bill Clinton for the Monica Lewinski scandle at the same time having an affair behind his wifes back.

    December 12, 2011 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  19. mac58

    Religion>>>>> Defined>>>> gay / lesbian sect , murderers , rapists / molesters , bigamists / polygamists , thieves , fanatics, ect. I'll just stick to believe in God and Jesus. Organized religion is nothing more than a shell game, ponzi scheme , and a pyramid all rolled into one.

    December 12, 2011 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  20. LetsBeCivil

    Hey Democrats answer to everything, TAX THE RICH, TAX BUSINESS:
    We're not the ones running for office.

    December 12, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  21. SixDegrees

    Rings pretty hollow, given his past. More to the point, though: who cares? Matters like this have nothing to do with public office and shouldn't be part of consideration for same. It's kowtowing to a minority of shrill, fundamentalist theocrats who are as thoroughly un-American as it is possible to be, and that alone is far more odious than Gingrich's past infidelities.

    December 12, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  22. GD


    At perhaps one of the easiest points in history to unseat an absolutely worthless president, the GOP is going to nominate one of the few people that will actually lose the election. Romney would have had the general election in the bag...say what you will about the guy, but not only does he have the experience to turn this country around, he's proven time and time again that he's capable. Flip flopper? Meh...that would describe every single politician. Obama's the biggest flip flopper of them all...he just sugar coats it a little better by framing it as "my position is evolving..." Direct translation: As it becomes more politically expedient, I will flip and flop as needed.

    December 12, 2011 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  23. Primewonk

    Cause his "pledge" to these talibangelical tea baggers is sooooo much more valid than the previous pledges he made before his god.

    December 12, 2011 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  24. Uthor

    Great that Newt's now finally going to get around to it. Goodness; he must think people are mostly fools.

    This might be one of the baldly ridiculous things he's ever said. And that's out of a lot of available examples...

    December 12, 2011 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  25. hannah

    Newt is laughable. But it appears that conservatives, even those with family values, are supporting him. I hope he wins the nomination. It will be a landslide for Obama. You compare the two men and one is a sleazy politician who has betrayed two wives, lied to them and the other, Obama is married to Michele and committed and the father of two beautiful children. I would say that Obama has the family values down pat. What a circus these republicans are.

    December 12, 2011 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
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