Newt ready to run

He plans to announce his plans on Wednesday — and two parts of his life will undoubtedly figure prominently in his campaign: his faith and his marriage.

From the New York Times:

Callista Bisek’s friends from rural Wisconsin were stunned when, well over a decade ago, she confided that she was secretly dating an older, married man: Newt Gingrich.

Still in her 20s when they met, Ms. Bisek had been raised in a town of 1,500, the only child of a meat packer and a secretary. A churchgoing Roman Catholic, she had attended a Lutheran college where she practiced piano five hours a day. “Is this the wisest course for you to be taking?” Karen Olson, her best friend, recalled asking.

Today, Ms. Bisek is Mrs. Gingrich, married for 11 years, but perhaps best remembered for the six-year affair that contributed to her husband’s political downfall. His critics cast Mr. Gingrich, the former House speaker, as a hypocrite who sought to impeach a president over infidelity while engaging in it himself with Ms. Bisek, who was a Congressional aide.

Yet in a curious tale of Washington reinvention, the onetime congressman from Georgia is counting on the third Mrs. Gingrich for his political redemption.

As he prepares for a Republican presidential primary run — he said Monday that he would formally declare his intentions on Wednesday — Mr. Gingrich is presenting himself as a family man who has embraced Catholicism and found God, with his wife as a kind of character witness. Depending on one’s point of view, she is a reminder of his complicated past, or his secret political weapon.

Barely a sentence goes by without Mr. Gingrich uttering the words “Callista and I.” They are constantly together — at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, at conservative political conferences, at book signings and screenings of their documentary films. She is the voice on his audio books; her face is all over his 2012 Web site, where visitors can read “A Note from Newt & Callista.”

At Villanova University on a recent Thursday night, Mrs. Gingrich warmed up the audience for a showing of the couple’s movie about Pope John Paul II by signing books and DVDs in her left-handed curlicue. But when asked whether she is ready for the scrutiny a campaign would bring, she smiled tightly and grew silent.

Mr. Gingrich answered for her. “Seems to be,” he said, with uncharacteristic tentativeness. “We’ve talked about it for a year. It’s difficult.”

Mr. Gingrich is well aware that social conservatives are skeptical of him because he did not emphasize their issues in Congress, but also because of his two divorces and admission of infidelity. He has been meeting with religious leaders around the country to address their concerns.

Deal Hudson, president of Catholic Advocate, a conservative group, said that if Mrs. Gingrich “wants to be first lady,” she would probably have to discuss their relationship as well.

Read the rest.


  1. Newt and Calista. Arnold and Maria. Methinks the deacon is still a bit of a news junkie….

  2. We’re all human; we’re all sinners; we’re all in need of God’s mercy and grace. Having said that, I hope Mr. Gingrich is sincere in his recent spiritual reawakening. If he is not–if it’s all or mostly about providing him with cover with the evangelical base–that would be just as troublesome as his serial infidelities.

    Can people change? Sure. Thank God for the grace that allows an ongoing conversion in any of our hearts. Perhaps Mr. Gingrich is completely sincere and truly devout. He may, for all I know, be 500% more devout than me.

    But I would be much more comfortable about Mr. Gingrich’s situation if his new approach to life did not fit in so conveniently with his high political ambitions. Live the life, be good to your marriage–and maybe don’t milk it for The Big Campaign when there’s an even bigger campaign (the kind that is unseen, deep in the soul) still underway.

  3. During the winter of 2007, I saw a program on C-Span that showed Gingrich (and Schumer) presenting their latest books to a National Press Club meeting. In answer to a question from one of the journalists about his running for the presidency in the 2008 election,
    he said that the current process of spending an entire year running is stupid. He thought that it could be done in 9 weeks. He then went on to say that he would not even consider running for president prior to late September.

    See 46:38 ff.

    I think that his run for the presidency will be fraught with controversy, gossip and innuendo.

    Contrary to some of the talk presented as fact, his first wife is still alive. According to his daughter, her mother’s tumor was benign. In addition, she said that their parents had decided to divorce before the surgery. Despite the talk about his apparent hypocrisy during the Clinton era, he was pushing for the impeachment of Clinton for lying under oath, not infidelity.

    I have serious reservations about his sincerity. His comment that his passion for his country contributed to his adultery does not indicate to me that he is willing to take responsibility for his actions, which he called inappropriate (?). Recently, at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, he said that he and Callista have two grandchildren. Well, unless Callista has adopted his two adult daughters, I would say that is a stretch.

    I am sure that he will want to woo the Catholic vote now that he is a Catholic and is promoting the video on John Paul II. I, for one, am not convinced that he is right for the presidency.

  4. naturgesetz says:

    Reserving judgment (politically, that is — obviously we can’t judge him personally).

    It seems to me that what really matters most is what we could expect him to do in his official duties as President, if elected. I’d rather have a pro-life adulterer as President than a pro-abortion politician who was faithful within marriage. And the same goes for other issues such as limited government and social justice (including immigration reform to stop the demonization of “illegal aliens”).

  5. pagansister says:

    IF he was the candidate, he wouldn’t be getting my vote, for a number of reasons, not the least of which is how he treated his previous 2 wives (both being ill when he left them). Hope the current wife stays healthy.

  6. justamouse says:

    uggghhh….. *bangshead*

    This is gonna be an ugly one, innit?

  7. Don from NH says:

    naturgesetz, let me get this straight……..being an adulterer is ok as long as we sock it to the poor (limited govt) and the heck with the rights of the marginal (social justice) and get rid of those who want a better life (illegal immigration). Being for these issues as far as Im concerned is a part of pro life and being catholic… pro life doesn’t stop at the womb.

    Its easy to say “I’m pro life”…how about continuing that pro life stance one the baby is out of the womb?

    oh I forgot,,,,people like you, like the argument…the results really dont matter. the argument is more important

    And also Dont forget to put your american flag out your window as soon as the adulterer announces, as he said he was not faithful because of the love of his country.

    He’s my idea of a great pro life american…..NOT

  8. naturgesetz says:

    Don from NH — you have misunderstood me and misrepresented my position. Therefore your snide insults are off the mark.

    I continue to hold that what a candidate is likely to do in office is what we should matter to us when we consider his or her candidacy for election. Candidates for their party’s nomination must also be evaluated as to their electability.

  9. Donal Mahoney says:

    Deal Hudson commenting on Newt Gingrich is a little like Larry Flynt commenting on Hugh Hefner. Deal Hudson should simply stay silent on Newt. Newt’s past entanglements with women not then his wife were at least consensual if far from appropriate. All of Newt’s women knew what they were doing.

  10. Newt Gingrich is clearly an opportunist and, I suspect, a fraud. He will never get my vote, either.

  11. Unapologetic Catholic says:

    ” I’d rather have a pro-life adulterer as President than a pro-abortion politician who was faithful within marriage. And the same goes for other issues such as limited government and social justice (including immigration reform to stop the demonization of “illegal aliens”).”

    How hard can it be to find a pro-life poltician that is faithful within his (one) marriage (or otherwise chaste) and has shown a modest amount of leadership capabilities?

    The Republicans should consider nominating someone like that. Condolezza Rice? Jan Brewer? If they don’t, Obama will be re-elected.

  12. naturgesetz says:

    Unapologetic Catholic — Mind you, I wasn’t saying that those are the only possibilities, just pointing out that given that particular set of candidates, my choice would be clear. If their policy positions and electability were substantially the same, marital fidelity could be the tie-breaker.

    So far as I know, most of the current crop of candidates and potential candidates aren’t known adulterers.

  13. Don from NH says:

    The opportunist will will never make it to New Hampshire

    Mark my word….and maybe finally we wont have to hear his hate, his utter distain for the common people of this country any longer.

    hopefully he and others like him will fall back in to the word work after they wrap themselves in the flag.

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