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Newt Gingrich inches closer to announcing run for president

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

Comments () | Archives (6)

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It would be so much fun to see him run with Sarah Palin as his mate wouldn't it???We could rename this as the "Dumb & Dumber" candidacy.....

If Gingrich was 1/10 the conservative that Ron Paul was I could give him my vote in good conscience. His goal is alway to make the state more powerful and militaristic. But, I would bet he could win easily if he runs for the Knesset.

Day of Rage in Washington D.C. on 6/30/11,_2011.html

Don't the Republicans understand Americans want a viable choice for our elected officials. We know there are intelligent, not old, (I'm 66 years old) conserative Republicans. Gingrich's day is over. It is time for the next generation to lead. We need to be lead toward alternatives to wars, solution to domestic problems. The old politics does not work any longer. Republicans, wake up. You will loose again.

Newt is going to have the support of the entire machine. More money, more credibility, etc. I say he wins the GOP nomination.
Poll: Can Newt get the nomnation? Beat Obama? Will you vote for him?

Any room for a serious candidate that takes on the $120 billion a year war in Afghanistan in the Republican race? Gingrich, apparently, doesn't fit the bill with his longstanding support for the counterproductive status quo in the war. Ron Paul, on the other hand, drew the loudest cheers of the first debate with his comments on ending the war. The death of Osama bin Laden seems to be opening up even more political space for candidates who want to bring America’s engagement in Afghanistan back into balance with its interests there. If Ron Paul and Gary Johnson don’t make the cut (both argue for a drawdown of troops) who is going to reap the political windfall of speaking for the conservative base that increasingly wants to get out of Afghanistan sooner rather than later? “Serious” Republican leaders like Rep. Boehner are still in lock-step with the Obama administration on staying the course. Why must the conservative base rely on Ann Coulter to speak for them in saying that this war is “bleeding us dry” instead of their elected representatives? Here’s Coulter speaking for the Tea Party on Afghanistan:

The fellow has been Speaker of the House of Representatives, has led a life of public service, is a world-reknowned healthcare expert, and will be candidate for President of the United States. And this stupid article starts with Facebook entries mocking Newt, then slides into the next most important fact to them, a marriage breakup and "affairs".

Is this what passes for "political commentary" at the LA times?

This Gingrich campaign is going to make the media assassination of Sarah Palin look like a Girl Scout cookie sale. And do you know why? Because the fellow has the gravitas and experience to do a great job and is the smartest guy in the race on either side -- in other words, to a thinking voter, he has a chance.

No slight to our President, but one of the factors in his election was the fact that he had done nothing of note -- nothing that the attack media and opponents could turn into a personal attack. Is this our future -- the election of only candidates who have no history -- good or bad?


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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