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Newt Gingrich inches closer to announcing run for president

May 9, 2011 |  4:49 pm

Newt Gingrich Facebook Wall

Newt Gingrich updated his Facebook profile Monday by announcing that he will appear on Fox News' Sean Hannity show on Wednesday evening to "talk about" his "run for President of the United States."  This lines up with news Gingrich's spokesman told The Times last week that the former speaker of the House will officially be a candidate shortly.

Although the 10-term former member of Congress writes that he is "humbled by all the encouragement" he has received during the exploratory phase, it's hard to ignore the first three comments his statement received on his Facebook wall and speculate how the veteran politician will handle the scrutiny.

The first commenter demands that Gingrich name former Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate while the third commenter rebutted that idea with an all-caps "NOT" accented with not one but two exclamation marks.

But it's the second comment that not only bashed the forum on which the Georgia Republican is choosing to speak, but one of the sensitive skeletons in the former congressman's past. Gingrich has admitted to two affairs that he had during his first two failed marriages.

Newtbill The first dalliance happened during the end of his 18-year marriage to Jackie Battley, his former high school geometry teacher. Gingrich's mistress was Marianne Ginther, whom he later married once he was granted a divorce from Battley. The most recent act of adultery transpired, coincidentally, as Gingrich rallied Congress to impeach President Clinton for lying about... an extra-marital affair.

Like Clinton, Gingrich cheated on Ginther with a much younger woman, Callista Bisek, who was an aide.

"There are times that I have fallen short of my own standards. There's certainly times when I've fallen short of God's standards," Gingrich confessed in an interview with Focus on the Family founder James C. Dobson in 2007 regarding the affair he had in 1998 while he rallied lawmakers to punish Clinton over the president's affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

"The president of the United States got in trouble for committing a felony in front of a sitting federal judge," Gingrich told Dobson explaining how he wasn't being hypocritical. "I drew a line in my mind that said, 'Even though I run the risk of being deeply embarrassed ... I have no choice except to move forward and say that you cannot accept ... perjury in your highest officials.' "

If Gingrich does choose to run, the GOP may not provide all the cover he may expect. In March, for example, Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul used Gingrich's rocky relationships against him while ridiculing the former speaker for flip-flopping on his stance on Libya.

"I was happy to see that Newt Gingrich has staked out a position on the war; a position or two, or maybe three," "tea party" darling Paul said at the Congressional Correspondents' Dinner. "I don't know. He may have more war positions than he's had wives."


Rand Paul mocks Newt Gingrich's marriages

Newt Gingrich will announce presidential decision Wednesday

Newt Gingrich cries foul over Obama's NCAA tournament picks

-- Tony Pierce

Top image: Screenshot from Newt Gingrich's Facebook fan page. Second image: President Clinton and House Speaker Newt Gingrich, right, R-Ga., speak before the opening of the national summit on retirement Thursday June 4, 1998 in Washington. Credit: Doug Mills / Associated Press