You’ve probably heard Newt Gingrich‘s defending himself concerning his first divorce, as he got his daughter to join him in saying that he didn’t request it. This was while his first wife was in the hospital being treated for cancer.
If you haven’t, here’s the defense on his campaign Web site:
Asking Wife For Divorce While She Was In The Hospital Dying of Cancer
This story is a vicious lie. It was first reported by a left wing magazine in the 1980s based on hearsay and has survived in left-wing chat rooms on the Internet until today. It is completely false.
Recently, Newt’s daughter, Jackie Gingrich Cushman, wrote a column to set the record straight about this smear. The column reveals that 1) It was her mother that requested the divorce, not Newt, and it was months before the hospital visit in question; 2) Her mother was in the hospital to remove a tumor, but it was benign, and she is still alive today; 3) Newt visited the hospital for the purpose of taking his two children to see their mother, not to discuss a divorce. You can read it here.
But CNN reported this yesterday:
Newt Gingrich claims that it was his first wife, not Gingrich himself, who wanted their divorce in 1980, but court documents obtained by CNN appear to show otherwise. …
Newt Gingrich filed a divorce complaint on July 14, 1980, in Carroll County, saying that “the marriage of the parties is irretriebably (sic) broken.”
Jackie Battley Gingrich, the congressman’s wife and the mother of Jackie Gingrich Cushman, responded by asking the judge to reject her husband’s filing.
“Defendant shows that she has adequate and ample grounds for divorce, but that she does not desire one at this time,” her petition said.
“Although defendant does not admit that this marriage is irretrievably broken, defendant has been hopeful that an arrangement for temporary support of defendant and the two minor daughters of the parties could be mutually agreed upon without the intervention of this court,” her petition said. “All efforts to date have been unsuccessful.”
And why was Newt so eager to get a divorce?
Leonard H. “Kip” Carter, a former close Gingrich friend, backed the contention that it was Newt Gingrich who wanted the divorce.
“He (Gingrich) said, ‘You know and I know that she’s not young enough or pretty enough to be the wife of a president,’ ” Carter, who now lives in South Carolina, told CNN recently, relating the conversation he had with Gingrich the day Gingrich revealed he was filing for divorce. Carter served as treasurer of Gingrich’s first congressional campaigns.
Carter, who was a fellow history professor when Gingrich taught at West Georgia College in Carrollton, said he broke off his friendship with Newt Gingrich because of the congressman’s treatment of his wife during the divorce.
Blue Gal sums it up pretty nicely: