Recent polls show that Newton Leroy “Newt” Gingrich has soared ahead of previous front runner, Herman Cain, in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Cain’s “awkward” performance in interviews especially concerning his absolute lack of knowledge about Libya, has gone from arrogance to ignorance. With the additional sexual harassment claims against him, Cain is probably finished as a presidential and vice presidential candidate. Although many of the Republican presidential candidates come with some baggage, will Newt become the “chosen one” instead of Romney? Frankly, I don’t think so.
On March 3, 2011, Gingrich officially announced a website entitled “Newt Exploratory 2012” of a potential presidential run. On May 11, 2011, Gingrich officially announced his intention to seek the GOP nomination in 2012. However, on June 9, 2011, many of Gingrich’s senior campaign aides quit leading to concerns about the viability of his presidential run. On June 21, 2011, two additional aides left but Gingrich stated that he had no intention to quit the race for the Republican nomination. So, even Gingrich’s staffers questioned his viability as a presidential candidate. But what about the personal image he projects as a presidential candidate?
Gingrich has been married three times. In 1962, when he was 19, he married 26 year old Jackie Battley. In the spring of 1980, Gingrich left Battley after having an affair with Marianne Ginther. Six months after the divorce from Battley, Gingrich married Ginther in 1981. In the 1990s, Gingrich began an affair with Callista Bisek, a very young staffer in the House of Representatives. They continued their affair during the Lewinsky scandal when Gingrich became a leader of the Republican investigation of President Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with his alleged affair. In 2000, Gingrich married Bisek shortly after his divorce from Ginther and they are currently together, at least for now. So his history of marital infidelity will undoubtedly be further exposed and may not set well with many women voters.
Gingrich also has a history of flip-flops. For example:
- Flip: “Personal responsibility extends to the purchase of health insurance. Citizens should not be able to cheat their neighbors by not buying insurance, particularly when they can afford it, and expect others to pay for their care when they need it.” — June 2007
- Flop: “I am against any effort to impose a federal mandate on anyone because it is fundamentally wrong and I believe unconstitutional.” — May 16, 2011
- Flip: “I think if you have mandatory carbon caps combined with a trading system, much like we did with sulfur, and if you have a tax-incentive program for investing in the solutions, that there’s a package there that’s very, very good. And frankly, it’s something I would strongly support.” — February 2007
- Flop: “A carbon cap and trade system … would lead to corruption, political favoritism, and would have a huge impact on the economy.” — April 21, 2008
- Flip: “I think is that the evidence is sufficient that we should move towards the most effective possible steps to reduce carbon-loading of the atmosphere.” — April 10, 2007
- Flop: “I actually don’t know whether global warming is occurring.” — November 8, 2011
PART II TOMORROW
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