Newt Gingrich loses his luster to Rick Santorum Newt Gingrich loses his luster to Rick Santorum

GOP race breaks open

The GOP race is wide open. Three key developments have removed Mitt Romney as front-runner and narrowed the field. But will gossip decide?

Gingrich eclipses Romney in GOP race

A new Rasmussen poll shows Newt Gingrich scoring higher than Mitt Romney in voter preference in South Carolina. (See also here and here.) The specific results:

  • Gingrich……33%
  • Romney……31%
  • Paul…………15%
  • Santorum….11%
  • Perry…………2%
  • Other…………1%
  • Not Sure…….6%

NBC News already had a poll showing that Gingrich had closed in on Romney, before Rasmussen’s result showing that Gingrich had surpassed him.

This result came out before the next development:

Rick Perry drops out of GOP race

Newt Gingrich at CPAC Florida. He is the new leader in the GOP race.
Newt Gingrich at the CPAC conference in Orlando, FL, September, 2011

Rick Perry, even before that poll result came out, dropped out of the GOP race and endorsed Newt Gingrich. The Associated Press knew he would drop out early this morning. Perry’s reason was simple: he was running dead last, and he knew he would never win. Why Perry endorsed Gingrich, and not Rick Santorum, no one will speculate.

And finally:

Rick Santorum really beat Mitt Romney in Iowa

This development prompted the AP to say that the GOP race had turned “bizarre.” Mitt Romney did not win the Iowa caucuses. Rick Santorum did, by thirty-four votes. But the Republican Party in Iowa calls this a “split decision.” Their grounds: eight precinct caucus reporters each failed to file Form E, the official form listing caucus vote totals. Without this written evidence, the Republican Party refuses to certify the overall vote. Said one witness in Iowa:

The Iowa Republican Party has been caught in a lie and with their pants down trying to orchestrate a win for the ‘Establishment’ candidate, Romney. Isn’t it interesting that on caucus night a lead of 8 votes was touted by all as a win for Romney but a lead of 34 for Santorum is a tie?

Mitt Romney is determined to win. To do that, he needs conservative votes. That might explain why he made this retort to an Occupy Wall Street-style protester:

Let me tell you something. America is a great nation, because we’re a united nation. And those who are trying to divide the nation, as you’re trying to do here, and as our president is doing, are hurting this country seriously. The right course for America is not to try to divide America, and try and divide us between one and another. It’s to come together as a nation.

And if you’ve got a better model — if you think China’s better, or Russia’s better, or Cuba’s better, or North Korea’s better — I’m glad to hear all about it.

But you know what? America’s right, and you’re wrong.

A resentful Washington Post commentator said that Romney had told someone in effect to “go back to Russia.”

The Gossip Factor

Now comes the truly bizarre part: ABC News thinks that it can decide the GOP race — with gossip. They announced this morning that Marianne Gingrich, Newt Gingrich’s second wife, had given an interview to the producers of their Nightline program. The second Mrs. Gingrich seems to have told ABC that her husband demanded an “open marriage” as the price of his continuing to live in the same house with her, this after she discovered his affair with his eventual current wife. She refused, Newt divorced her, and the rest is history.

James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal pointed out that Marianne seems to have changed her story in one particular: when, precisely, she learned that she had multiple sclerosis. (Marianne is not the same woman on whom Newt allegedly served divorce papers while she was recovering from a cancer treatment. That story refers to his first wife, Jackie.)

This is the same ABC who, along with other Mainstream Media organs, decried Republican attempts to decide national policy with gossip, when Bill Clinton was President.

Gingrich, Romney, Santorum, and Ron Paul will have one more debate tonight at 8:00 p.m. EST. CNN will carry it. Then the voting in the primary will begin.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

candidate, constitutional law, election, politicians, president


Terry A. Hurlbut

Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

Comments (12)

  • While the timing of the interview with Marianne Gingrich is interesting, the interviews with her can’t be characterized as “gossip”. They’re first-person accounts from his ex-wife, relating her side of how their marriage ended. They will each have their own version of what transpired, of course, and Newt will have to deal with this as one of the consequences of his choices in life.

    • Funny you should mention the timing. Even Bob Beckel interrupted his habitual apologetics for Obama to say that ABC-TV shouldn’t run the interview. He cited the timing: this close to the primary, Newt can’t defend himself in time.

  • If someone was out to cut off a Gingrich surge the timing couldn’t be better, since he needs to win or place a very close second to stay in the race.

    I wouldn’t characterize her timing as anything driven by the Santorum, Paul or Romney camps, but something more basic than politics. From what I’ve read of her interview with Esquire, she’s basically fed up with his self-promotion as a “true” conservative, which to use his own words, strikes her as a lot of “pious baloney”.

    What goes around comes around, and Gingrich has pulled so many reversals in policy, position and values in recent years that he almost makes Romney look consistent. If he had maintained a lower profile in life she probably would have as well, but his preachy, judgmental condescension in a national forum angered her, as someone who was deeply hurt by actions that are 180 degrees to the character he wants people to associate with him.

    The bottom line is that we can seek forgiveness and try to be better people after failing, but Newt Gingrich has shown over and over in his life that he will put his self-interest above colleagues, above his declared principles, and in two cases, above the woman he made solemn vows of fidelity to. That degree of personal self-centeredness is a core value of his, and talking about it before or after tonights debate or Saturday’s primary won’t change a thing.

  • I wonder how Newt can call himself the champion of traditional family values with a straight face? Regardless of the circumstances (what kind of louse serves divorce papers on somebody recovering from cancer?) the fact that he’s been married thrice – and all because of infidelity, not loss – make him a joke when he talks about family values.

    I hope he gets called on this more often, I’d love to hear him weasel his way out of it.

    • I think you missed it when I cleared up an important point: the cancer patient among the three was his first wife, not his second.

  • Which wife it was is immaterial, it was still a despicable thing to do, especially from somebody who puts himself forward as a champion of family values. You get the impression the man does not know the meaning of the word.

    In fact, I’m not sure why his opponents aren’t making more of it. After all, Gary Hart’s bid crumbled after it turned out he’d had an affair – and Newt’s had two!

    Not to mention his $300,000 fine for violations of House rules.

    This does not sound like somebody you’d want to entrust the highest office in the land to.

  • You mean the fact that Newt was having an affair whilst calling for Clinton to be impeached over Lewinski? I would have thought they’d have been jumping on that, given his own attack adverts.

    Next thing they know, they’ll end up with somebody completely untrustworthy in the White House. Of course, that wouldn’t be the first time. In fact, has there been a President in the last 50 years who’s been trustworthy? That’s probably a side-effect of a system where a country’s leader is beholden to his sponsors, not his party. But that’s a debate for another day.

  • Using Clinton as a counterexample doesn’t make Gingrich less morally repugnant., it just adds “Sanctimonious hypocrite ” to the adjectives he can be described with.

    Both of Gingrich’s divorces were the result of infidelity on his part, the latter going on for 6 years. That’s not a mistake -that’s a fundamental lack of character.

    It’s also pretty pathetic that he spins his redemption story around Callista converting him to Catholicism. SHE was the fellow adulterer for those six years!

    He can run on any policy platform he wants, but when he touches on values, let alone any comments about the institution of marriage, her invites not only criticism, but mockery.

    • But it does negate the moral authority of the press to criticize Newt over this.

      Any possible moral turpitude of a subject is a separate issue from that of “whose place is it to criticize.”

      In any event, this is an unproved, unfounded, and disputed allegation. As such it is incompetent, irrelevant, immaterial, and inconclusive. If John King had talked to CNN’s general counsel’s office, or their Claims/Risk Management office, he would have learned this.

  • It would negate their authority if the press didn’t cover the Lewinski affair, but it’s fairly safe to assume they did – in great detail.

    Also, Newt is running for public office, of course his private life is going to be put under the microscope. People in this position are supposed to be good examples and above reproach. Sadly, he is neither. Even if her claims are unfounded, the fact that he had an affair (twice!) is not – and unfounded allegations have ended more than one political campaign. Again Gary Hart comes to mind, as does Herman Cain.

    For Newt to keep touting himself as a champion of traditional marriage is a joke and makes him out to be an opportunist at best and a hypocrite at worst.

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