One of the most troublesome charges against Newt Gingrich is that he served the divorce papers to his first wife in her hospital room where she was dying of cancer. The increased scrutiny due to his front-runner status in the Republican presidential race has at least uncovered the evidence that the story is not true. From the Washington Post:
Although the thrust of the story about his first divorce is not in dispute — Gingrich’s first wife, Jackie Battley, has said previously that the couple discussed their divorce while she was in the hospital in 1980 — other aspects of it appear to have been distorted through constant retelling.
Most significant, Battley wasn’t dying at the time of the hospital visit; she is alive today. Nor was the divorce discussion in the hospital “a surprise” to Battley, as many accounts have contended. Battley, not Gingrich, had requested a divorce months earlier, according to Jackie Gingrich Cushman, the couple’s second daughter.
Further, Gingrich did not serve his wife with divorce papers on the day of his visit (unlike a subpoena, divorce papers aren’t typically “served”). Gingrich’s marriage to Battley had been troubled for many years before it dissolved 31 years ago, both parties have said.
Still, he has been married three times. His second divorce came in 1999 and involved an extra-marital relationship with a congressional staffer who is now his third wife.
Do you think these transgressions should disqualify him from the presidency?