Last night’s Republican debate got off to an uncomfortable start last night when Newt Gingrich was asked the first question of the night about his ex-wife Marianne Gingrich and whether he asked for an “open marriage.” CNN moderator John King asked the question because Marianne Gingrich appeared in an ABC News interview that also aired last night claiming Newt cheated on her with current wife Callista Gingrich and asked for an “open marriage.” When Marianne Gingrich said she didn’t want an open marriage, and in fact that she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Newt asked for a divorce. When questioned about Marianne’s statements at Thursday night’s debate, Newt called them “false” and chastised John King, saying, “I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that.”
“Every person in here knows personal pain. Every person in here has had someone close to them go through painful things. To take an ex-wife and make it two days before the primary a significant question for a presidential campaign is as close to despicable as anything I can imagine. My two daughters wrote the head of ABC and made the point that [the interview] was wrong, that they should pull it, and I am frankly astounded that CNN would take trash like that and use it to open a presidential debate.”
I don’t think CNN looks good in this situation. They are supposed to be CNN, not TMZ.
But Newt Gingrich can go cry me a river. The specifics of his infidelity and crappy record as a husband (Gingrich reportedly left his first wife after she was diagnosed with cancer) are not necessarily the public’s business. The key words here are “not necessarily”— but I will get to that in a minute. Raking politicians over the coals for their personal lives can take on the aura of a witch hunt and makes it seem as if the only people who will be “allowed” to be politicians are male evangelical Christians who married their high school girlfriend at age 18 and never had another lover since. Real life is a lot more messy than that.
Newt Gingrich is not a victim of a witch hunt, however. I don’t care if Newt cheats, or wanted an open relationship (just like I didn’t care if Herman Cain cheated, I cared how he cheated). I care that Newt himself was leading the witch hunt himself during the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal and is now getting all huffy when the lens is on him. To me, it doesn’t matter just how crappy of a husband a future president is and basing the entirety of someone’s character on their romantic relationships isn’t logical. Newt’s stunning hypocrisy — and what that says about his character — does matter.
He can go cry all the tears he wants over the morally depraved “liberal” mainstream media that has it out for him, a la Herman Cain and Sarah Palin. One hopes he will at some point turn inward.
Contact the author of this post at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter at @JessicaWakeman.