A potentially explosive ABC News interview with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich’s second wife, Marianne will air tomorrow night, and according various reports it could very well hurt Mr. Gingrich’s rise in the polls on a national level and in the important upcoming South Carolina primary.
Interestingly, Gail Sheehy of Vanity Fair (via PBS) interviewed Marianne Gingrich in September 1995, and it appears she has been planning to drop the ball on her ex-husband for a number of years if he ever planned to run for the presidency: (bolding is mine)
“No, no, Newt! plead many of his ardent supporters and strategists. But other observers say the G.O.P —a party which, in columnist Joe Klein’s words, “can’t resist a tent show”— won’t be able to resist “drafting” Newt. Meanwhile, he is honing his evangelical skills on a 25-city P.R campaign bankrolled with a loan from Rupert Murdoch and designed to sell his new book To Renew America —and himself.”
“But his greatest presidential stumbling block may be right under his nose. At home, Newt’s second wife, Marianne Ginther Gingrich, tells me she doesn’t see herself in the First Lady’s job. ‘Watching Hillary has just been a horrible experience,’ commiserates Marianne. ‘Hillary sticking her neck out is not working.’ What happens if Newt runs?, I ask.”
“‘He can’t do it without me,’ she replies. ‘I told him if I’m not in agreement, fine, it’s easy’ —she giggles at her naughtiness. ‘I just go on the air the next day, and I undermine everything…I don’t want him to be president and I don’t think he should be.’ Why not?’”
“‘Right now, the presidency is not a single person. It’s not so much what he’d be doing. It’s what I’d be doing.’”
Bob Walker, a senior Gingrich adviser, told National Review Online, “It is pretty nasty to use personal tragedy for political exploitation.” Mr. Walker added, “That was a very bitter divorce, and you’re talking about somebody who is still, probably, very bitter.” According to reports, the Gingrich campaign released a letter to ABC News executives from Mr. Gingrich’s daughters, Kathy Lubbers and Jackie Cushman. Both of his daughters advocated for their father in the letter below:
“The failure of a marriage is a terrible and emotional experience for everyone involved. Anyone who has had that experience understands it is a personal tragedy filled with regrets, and sometimes differing memories of events.We will not say anything negative about our father’s ex-wife. He has said before, privately and publicly, that he regrets any pain he may have caused in the past to people he loves.”
“ABC News or other campaigns may want to talk about the past, just days before an important primary election. But Newt is going to talk to the people of South Carolina about the future– about job creation, lower taxes, and about who can defeat Barack Obama by providing the sharpest contrast to his damaging, extreme liberalism”.
“We are confident this is the conversation the people of South Carolina are interested in having.Our father is running for President because of his grandchildren – so they can inherit the America he loves. To do that, President Obama must be defeated. And as the only candidate in the race, including Obama, who has actually helped balance the national budget, create jobs, reform welfare, and cut taxes and spending, Newt felt compelled to run - to serve his country and safeguard his grandchildren’s future.”