Gingrich tears up remembering his mother
December 30th, 2011
01:44 PM ET
11 years ago

Gingrich tears up remembering his mother

Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) - Newt Gingrich teared up at a campaign stop in Iowa Friday, openly weeping while talking about his mother, who suffered from bipolar disorder and depression.

The moment was sparked by a question from GOP political consultant Frank Luntz, who was moderating a forum targeted to mothers at a local coffee shop Java Joe's in downtown Des Moines.

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Luntz, noting the room had a number of moms present, asked Gingrich, "What moment do you think of when you think of your mom?"

"First of all you will get me all teary-eyed. Callista will tell you I get teary eyed every time we send Christmas cards," Gingrich said, coughing back tears.

"My mother sang in the choir and loved singing in the choir. I don't know if I should admit this but when I was very young she made me sing in the choir. I identify my mother with being happy, loving life, having a sense of joy in her friends," Gingrich continued.

Gingrich said his mother, who died in 2003, played a part in his legislative interests in long-term health care and mental disease.

"Late in her life she ended up in a long-term care facility. She had bipolar disease, depression and she gradually acquired some physical ailments and that introduced me to the issue of quality, long-term care."

Gingrich continued, stalling at times to fight back tears, "My whole emphasis on brain science comes in directly from dealing – see how I'm getting emotional – from dealing with you know the real problems of real people in my family. So it is not a theory. It is in fact my mother."

Moms Matter 2012, a group that describes its mission as "moving moms from the political sidelines to the headlines," sponsored the Gingrich event. Approximately 100 people were present, including a few mothers with young children.

Gingrich's immediate family joined him on stage for the event: wife Callista, daughters Kathy Gingrich Lubbers and Jackie Gingrich Cushman, sons-in-law, and two grandchildren, Maggie and Robert.

Also see:

Nearly half of Iowa ads attack Gingrich

In early book, Rep. Ron Paul criticized AIDS patients, minority rights and sexual harassment victims

Romney and Paul battle for top spot in new Iowa poll

DNC video asks 'What is Mitt Romney hiding' in tax returns

Top Bachmann aide out after flap over campaign switch

Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (301 Responses)
  1. Jack

    Fake Fale Fake!

    December 30, 2011 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  2. DoNotWorry

    Perhaps he is also bipolar?

    December 30, 2011 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  3. G. L.

    As I look across the wasteland of an economy worse than any we have seen since the great depression, as I listen to partisan intransigence in the legislature, as I feel the impact of incompetance in the presidency I feel compelled to offer the good people on this forum a bit of perspective:

    Franklin D. Roosevelt - died with his mistress in Georgia. A great president, no doubt.
    Ulysses Grant - A heavy drinker - kept the nation together after a rapacious congress attempted to "punish" the south leading to decades of resentment and hatred. A great president, no doubt.
    Abraham Lincoln - possibly our homliest president, would never get elected in the TV age - A great president, no doubt.
    Jimmy Carter - A moral and honest man - A lousy president, no doubt.
    Woodrow Wilson - A moral and well meaning man - A lousy president, no doubt.

    Remember that greatness as a chief executive is very nearly independent of moral purity. It is far more a function of Vision, Courage and the ability to convince others to follow - Lincoln was, publicly, a man of iron conviction and character; Roosevelt could have taught Macchavelli how to manipulate people; Grant was tireless bulldog in character who never gave an inch in dealing with a runaway legislature.

    Perhaps there are those here who "hate" Mr. Gingrich but, remember that on his watch a republican congress worked WITH a democratic congress and as a minority member he was able to work WITH a democratic congress under a republican president. We could surely use some of that here and now, couldn't we?

    Also remember that the budget was balanced and the nation was prosperous when Mr. Gingrich was working with President Clinton. We could use some of that here and now also! Also, as I seem to recall, Hillary Clinton was the author of a health care initiative that was "too expensive." Now, after we see how much Obamacare will really cost, we are forced to come to the painful realization that it was too expensive. We need other ideas; Mr. Gingrich, whatever else you may say about him, has plenty of ideas!

    Understanding foriegn affairs and finance - Dr. Gingrich has taught at the War College and the Command and General Staff College of the U.S. Army - It would be very difficult to argue that he would be somehow incompetent as a president in charge of either the United States Military or the Foriegn Policy of the country.

    No - the tears I cry are for us, the common citizen, as we are manipulated by the media and the political machines whilst our nation rots to ruin around us. Either find a better candidate or support the best one we now have. Don't just denigrate those who care enough to try to make things better!

    December 30, 2011 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  4. GW

    Wow! I am overwhelmed with the negative posts. I have a daughter that suffers from bi polar disorder, it is indeed heartbreaking to see someone you love whose mind has been lost, that person you know and love is lost and you can only hope they return. Perhaps Newt remember the helpless felling you have when you see someone deteriorate that you love. I can only imagine what it is like to place your mother in a place where she can be safe.

    Pain is neither a Democratic or Republican possession . . . we all share secret pains and memories of suffering.
    Forget the politician Newt, sometimes raw emotion emits from places in your soul you never knew existed, perhaps you actually saw a window to his soul. I also had a daughter with cancer . . . last night I came to tears discussing the moment when we were told the diagnosis . . . the emotion was raw and sincere . . . I did not know that pain still existed 20 years later.
    Before you dismiss me . . . as a lightweight, I am a very successful physician former college athlete that has had the unfortunate experience of cancer and mental illness in our family.

    The venom does not help anyone, does not help our country, and certainly doesn't enrich the lives of the people writing them. Please tone down the rhetoric, if you don't agree with Newt on issues you are not alone; however, we are all Americans even those you have major disagreements. We are not enemies, but rather we compete in the world of ideas to advance our nation. The venom actually holds you back and gives us all a window to your anonymous soul.

    Be of good cheer . . . You can say whatever you want to say because you live in the greatest contry the world has ever known.

    December 30, 2011 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  5. Richard J Liggon

    Remember Preisdent Obama lost his mother due to not haveing heath care to save her life. And did Preisdent Obama stand there and cry about it her. NO HE MADE A DIFFERENTS . SO SAVE YOUR CROC TEARS. MAN UP.

    December 30, 2011 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  6. Tom

    Isn't crying John Boehner's Job??

    December 30, 2011 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  7. benji

    WAAAAA!!! He is to unstable to be president. He is crying. Just paying back the GOP when they jumped all over Hillary when she cried while she was running for president.

    December 30, 2011 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  8. DoNotWorry

    Crocodile tears. Men's relationships with women frequently mirror their relationship with their mother... he has treated women very poorly during his life and probably disliked his mother. Crocodile tears are very popular with the televangelist crowd, he knows his market.

    December 30, 2011 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  9. Donald in CA

    Newt, the original mr. nasty will get no sympathy from me no matter how much crying he does. The right wing of this country are so out of touch with real america that they actually wanted this nasty guy for president. Lord help us.

    December 30, 2011 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  10. Marcus Sandcastle

    I wonder how many bottles of hairspray she uses to keep her hair from moving. Can you be any phonier than that. You have to have at least on strand out of place. Damn. I'm just saying.

    December 30, 2011 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  11. Reddog9500

    OMG!! Gingrich's tears for anyone (including his mother) are as phony as the tears shed by the people who cried for Kim Jong Ill. This man has no conscience, as shown by his past behavior. Excuse me while I go somewhere to throw up.

    December 30, 2011 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  12. Poipounder

    Those are tears of laughter. God bless you Newt and good luck with your book deal. Poor guy made some good money destroying our economy.

    December 30, 2011 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  13. hwy9

    Pathetic. So he's emotional about HIS mother. What about MINE?

    December 30, 2011 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  14. jody

    Don-–born from maggot eggs, left behind in a Georgia cow pie. I laughed out loud!!!!! Wish I could have come up with that one.

    December 30, 2011 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  15. hoot

    I would be in tears too,if i owed Tiffany's thousands of dollars,,

    December 30, 2011 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  16. vivian

    Is Gingry having a HILLARY MOMENT?? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!!!!!

    December 30, 2011 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  17. larry

    Then why he so pro insurance company. Get real the guy is fake, he doesn't care about anything except his wallet.

    December 30, 2011 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  18. vivian

    Oh, the questiojn that led up to this was posed by none other than Fred Luntz, the Republican image-maker manipulator talking point creator. PHONY TEARS, ORCHESTRATED EMOTION, MANIPULATING VOTERS EMOTIONS.

    These people are sociopaths and they are a threat to our democracy.

    December 30, 2011 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  19. Reddog9500

    I'll bet my $40 a paycheck increase that Hitler cried when his Momma died too. (And then he went and tried to take over the world and killed 10s of millions of innocent people in the process.)

    December 30, 2011 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  20. KC Yankee

    Ya gotta admire ol' Newt. He knows every smarmy trick in the book, and he's not above using them all.

    December 30, 2011 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  21. bawana

    now we know what is wrong with newt,,,he was taken away from the teet too soon

    December 30, 2011 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  22. Jewels

    I'm sorry - I had to laugh at "There's no crying in Politics!" Made my day. 🙂

    December 30, 2011 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  23. dgrhm

    Odd how he doesn't tear up when thinking about how he handed his first wife divorced papers while she was sick in the hospital with cancer. Hm... odd.

    December 30, 2011 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  24. Iowa Skeptic

    I am not buying into the tear performance. If Mr Gingrich did shed a tear, it likely had more to do with his plummeting poll numbers; the fact that the truth about his record is coming out; the discovery of his first divorce papers which contradict his account; and his total lack of ethincs while Speaker of the House. Nope, Newt is wrong for the US. He would set us back 20 years, and he would destroy the GOP.

    December 30, 2011 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  25. Roland

    Get yourself something at Tiffany's. That will cheer you up

    December 30, 2011 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
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