Newt Gingrich is what I would define as a horrible husband. Fortunately, he’s not running for husband of the year. Unfortunately, he’s running for President. There are any number of reasons to not vote for Gingrich without even touching on his marital infidelities.
But…we can’t forget that Gingrich played a major role in the witch hunt that plagued the Clinton administration in the 90s. At the same time that Congress was investigating Clinton, Gingrich was himself cheating.
If you recall, in last week’s GOP debate, Gingrich chastised CNN’s John King like a misbehaving child when he dared bring up Gingrich’s infidelity. King, in typical CNN fashion, cowered.
It appears that some journalists aren’t quite as willing to kowtow to Gingrich’s bullying and if the journalist is far enough from the mainstream, Gingrich is willing to answer the question.
Univisión’s Jorge Ramos, the John King or maybe Anderson Cooper of the network sat down with Gingrich and confronted him on the issue. Transcript from Mediaite:
“I take full responsibility for these questions,” Ramos began, so as to distance himself from his channel before challenging Gingrich on personal questions. “When you were Speaker of the House, you criticized President Clinton for having an extramarital affair.” “No,” replied Gingrich, “I criticized him for lying under oath in front of a federal judge, for committing perjury, which is a felony for which normal people go to jail.” Ramos continued his question, however, stating that Gingrich was doing the same thing. “I was not doing the same thing– you didn’t hear my answer.”
“Many people think that is hypocritical.” Gingrich responded that that was true because “they listen to your question, but they don’t listen to the facts.” Gingrich did not go on to attack Ramos, however, in the way one would expect him to attack, say, John King. Instead, he fleshed out his answer. “Look, I’ve been through two divorces, I’ve been deposed both times, under oath. I’m not a lawyer, and I know it’s a felony. Clinton is a lawyer, from Yale Law School, and he knew it was a felony.” When Ramos repeated that that wasn’t exactly assuaging anyone’s concerns about his character, Gingrich replied with vintage Gingrich: “somewhere here there is a synapse missing. I didn’t do the same thing; I never lied under oath.”
Ramos then left that topic and went into even murkier waters, but asked the question in a way that left him completely protected from a Gingrich attack, asking why he blamed the media for exposing the “open marriage” question, and whether he believed it to be a legitimate concern. Gingrich attacked ABC for the story, and Ramos continued, “Isn’t that a fair question about your character? That’s the kind of question that we have to ask.” Gingrich agreed. “Have I blamed you for asking? No.” He went on to explain, again, that the open marriage claim was “a lie” and then turned to the John King incident: “The CNN commentator decided to make it the first question in a national presidential debate, and I thought to myself– ‘we have unemployment, we have immigration, we have Afghanistan… and this guy thinks that this kind of trash should be the first question in a presidential debate?’”
In Newt’s defense, there are bigger problems facing the US right now and maybe it shouldn’t have been the first question that John King asked, but that doesn’t mean that the American people don’t have a right to the answer.
Gingrich, who at that time was the Speaker of the House, had it in for Clinton, allegedly as petty payback for having to take a backseat on Air Force One. He and many other Republicans tried to pull rabbits out of every hat they could find. They accused Clinton of rape, financial scandals and even murder. The only one they could get to stick was the allegation of morally questionable but perfectly legal consensual sexual acts (infidelity). They finally impeached Clinton based on perjury and obstruction of justice for his evasive answers in regards to the affair. Two often overlooked facts are that an impeachment is not a conviction, it is simply an indictment, and that Clinton was acquitted of the charges. So, in the eyes of the law, Gingrich is wrong when he says that Clinton lied under oath.
Just four years ago, John Edwards was demonized for cheating on his sick wife. It was a contemptable thing to do, but that is still one less sick wife than Gingrich cheated on. A few months ago, Anthony Weiner was driven out of office for sexting, an act that doesn’t even involve physical contact.
I’m not saying that Gingrich should be drummed out of the race for this issue, but he has absolutely no right to shut down the dialogue and to compare his situation to Clinton’s is more than fair, and in fact, Gingrich looks far worse for the comparison. Clinton’s indiscretions were distasteful, but he didn’t leave two sick wives.