Wives take lead in candidates' ads
December 22nd, 2011
11:36 AM ET
11 years ago

Wives take lead in candidates' ads

(CNN) - Three Republican presidential candidates released new television ads on Wednesday, set to air in Iowa. But this time the stars of the commercials weren't the candidates.

Their wives took the spotlight, instead. Callista Gingrich, Anita Perry and Ann Romney all spoke on behalf of their husbands.

The ads come less than two weeks before the nation's first Republican nominating contest, the Iowa caucuses, which are held in a state known for its social conservative voters.

Callista Gingrich, wife of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, made her first ad appearance in the campaign's new "Christmas Greetings" spot. Wearing a royal blue top with a pearl necklace, Callista talked about the "inspiring" holiday season as images of small towns and Christmas decorations appeared on screen.

"From our family to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year," she said, with her husband sitting by her side.

Married since August 2000, the couple is perhaps the most talked-about duo on the campaign trail. Callista is Gingrich's third wife, a relationship that began as an affair while Gingrich was in his second marriage and while Callista was a young staff member on Capitol Hill.

Gingrich mentions his wife in nearly every public appearance and talks about her role as a manager in their media company and a strong decision maker on the campaign. Last week, he signed a pledge to The Family Leader, a socially conservative group in Iowa, promising "fidelity" and to "defend and strengthen the family."

The ad follows weeks of Gingrich's marriage history drawing fire from evangelical circles and, in more veiled ways, from his opponents.

Also standing by her husband, Anita Perry, wife of Rick Perry, took a leading role in the Texas governor's new Iowa commercial.

Anita told the story of marrying her "high school sweetheart" after waiting for Perry to finish his service in the Air Force. The two recently celebrated their 29th wedding anniversary.

The spot, titled "American Story," also took a "rural America" theme, as Anita went on to explain how she and her husband grew up in small towns and "raised with Christian values."

"And we know Washington, D.C. could use some of that," Anita said, with her husband walking on screen to join her.

"I'm Rick Perry, and I really approve this message," Perry said, adding extra emphasis to the standard political ad ending.

Anita also frequently hits the trail for her husband, who credits her with urging him to run for president earlier in the year. But she's frequently found herself defending Perry's mistakes in his campaign.

In the third ad, Ann Romney, wife of Mitt Romney for 42 years, talked about the importance of measuring a candidate's character and integrity, an apparent knock against Gingrich.

"You can never predict what kind of tough decisions are going to come in front of a president's desk," the wife of the former Massachusetts governor said.

"But if you can trust they will do the right thing, and maybe the hard thing, and maybe not the popular thing, and if you really want to know how a person will operate, look at how they've lived their life," she added.

The commercial, which shows images of the couple over the years, is scheduled to start airing in Iowa on Friday.

Ann also gets big mention from Romney during his campaign stops. Calling her his "soul mate," he recently grew emotional in a television interview while talking about her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.

Also see:

Ron Paul defensive over past newsletters

Gingrich to Romney: Let's meet in the kitchen

Pro-Romney super PAC slams Gingrich

Filed under: Anita Perry • Ann Romney • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • Rick Perry
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Thomas

    That photo says it all !

    December 22, 2011 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  2. willie floyd

    Neither of them can compare with our current First Lady. Glad to know things are looking very promising that she will be there for quite some time.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    December 22, 2011 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  3. Woman In California

    NONE of which are First Lady material.

    December 22, 2011 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Perfectly coiffed, dressed to the nines and not by J. Crew either; the hairdye job alone cost a couple of hundred.
    They may want to tone it down if they are looking to get the votes of middle class Americans. Or is it just our current FLOTUS and POTUS that are not allowed to flaunt their wealth?

    December 22, 2011 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  5. Rudy NYC

    I think Newt would get a lot of positive attention if he dressed up in a Santa suit, and greeted poor kids somewhere.

    December 22, 2011 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  6. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Their wives took the spotlight, instead. Callista Gingrich, Anita Perry and Ann Romney all spoke on behalf of their husbands."

    Thereby giving we the voters another "go figure" moment on the never ending GOPer campaign trail of comedy.

    December 22, 2011 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  7. T'sah from Virginia

    Here we have NEWTron leading again – He and his wife started it and everyone else follows. MITTens even "suspended" all negative ads for the holiday season; oh wait, MITTens claimed he did not have "control" of the negative ads so the PACs decided to stop – yea, right!!!

    HAPPY HOLIDAYS – Obama 2012

    December 22, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  8. GOP = Greed Over People

    And if I am not mistaken, the newt is the only one that could make it a multiple choice decision!

    December 22, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  9. Martha in CF

    Sick, completely makes me sick......

    December 22, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Too bad Michelle Bachmann dosn't seem to have enough money to feature her spouse in a major ad. Such an ad might get more hits on YouTube than what she gets in campaign dollars.

    December 22, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  11. Alex

    Hey Newt! We don't want a Third Lady, we want a First Lady!!!

    December 22, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  12. Vin Dicated

    No, thank you! I'll keep the glamazon we currently have in the WH. Graceful, elegant and classy beats a fem-bot any day.

    December 22, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  13. Republican who supports President Obama

    Sorry but she does not seem genuine or real at all.

    December 22, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  14. Expat American

    Gingrich and his wife strongly resemble Colonel Cotton Lyndal Hill and Deirdre "Didi" Hill.

    December 22, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  15. Casey

    I guess Newt would be the only candidate that could take part in a media blitz that involved the candidate's mistresses.

    December 22, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  16. once upon a horse

    the problem with Callista is ALWAYS going to be her past, she was the one Newt was messing around with on his second wife, who it has been said is STILL bitter by the way, and there will some women that won't be able to get past that. And I am guessing many on the so-called religious right won't get passed it too soon either.

    December 22, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  17. doug

    No hate in any of their eyes, reason enough for the Democrat to be against them.

    December 22, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  18. Debbie

    Talk about boring. Any of the 3 would be like Laura Bush...boring. But then we are not electing these women. I have two concerns though and that is that all three women would be poor examples of setting examples for women. Callista Gingrich represents the mistress, Anita Perry represents blind following of husband and Ann Romney is the good Mormon wife that represents women as not much more than women as property.

    December 22, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |