There are a number of significant clues out this week that reveal plans that former House Representative (and current Fox News analyst) Newt Gingrich will make a presidential bid in 2012. First is the report that he’s currently “putting real legwork on the ground in Iowa.” Second is the doozy of a story out today in Esquire that outlines his potential candidacy AND his character via an in-depth interview with his former wife Marianne. Lots of salacious details sure to make news in the coming weeks and months.
John H. Richardson penned the epic, 8,000 word plus opus that sets out to get to know the real person behind the political persona via a candid and at times awkward interview with Marianne Gingrich, the second ex-wife of the potential presidential candidate. The entire article is an interesting read to say the least, but some choice excerpts are listed below.
On Gingrich’s messy personal life:
“He asked me to marry him way too early. And he wasn’t divorced yet. I should have known there was a problem.”…. And he did the same thing to her eighteen years later, with Callista Bisek, the young congressional aide who became his third wife. “I know. I asked him. He’d already asked her to marry him before he asked me for a divorce. Before he even asked.”
At first, she had no idea that the wife he was divorcing was actually his high school geometry teacher, or that he went to the hospital to present her with divorce terms while she was recovering from uterine cancer and then fought the case so hard, Jackie had to get a court order just to pay her utility bills. Gingrich told her the story a little at a time, trusting her with things that nobody else knew-to this day, for example, the official story is that he started dating Jackie when he was eighteen and she was twenty-five. But he was really just sixteen, she says.
On the separation between his personal conduct and his political life:
“There’s somebody else, isn’t there?” She kind of guessed it, of course. Women usually do. But did she know the woman was in her apartment, eating off her plates, sleeping in her bed?
She called a minister they both trusted. He came over to the house the next day and worked with them the whole weekend, but Gingrich just kept saying she was a Jaguar and all he wanted was a Chevrolet. “‘I can’t handle a Jaguar right now.’ He said that many times. ‘All I want is a Chevrolet.'”
He asked her to just tolerate the affair, an offer she refused. He’d just returned from Erie, Pennsylvania, where he’d given a speech full of high sentiments about compassion and family values.
The next night, they sat talking out on their back patio in Georgia. She said, “How do you give that speech and do what you’re doing?”
“It doesn’t matter what I do,” he answered. “People need to hear what I have to say. There’s no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn’t matter what I live.”
On seeking the presidency:
She thinks he made a choice long ago between doing the right thing and getting rich, and when you make those choices, you foreclose other ones. “He could have been president. But when you try and change your history too much, and try and recolor it because you don’t like the way it was or you want it to be different to prove something new . . . you lose touch with who you really are. You lose your way.”
She stops, ashes her cigarette, exhales, searching for the right way to express what she’s about to say. “He believes that what he says in public and how he lives don’t have to be connected,” she says. “If you believe that, then yeah, you can run for president.”
Sitting on a bench, she squints against the light. “He always told me that he’s always going to pull the rabbit out of the hat,” she says.
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