warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

ABC News Set To Air "Explosive" Interview With Newt Gingrich's Second Wife

Tracy Bloom |
January 18, 2012 | 10:42 p.m. PST

Deputy Editor

Newt Gingrich (photo courtesy creative commons)
Newt Gingrich (photo courtesy creative commons)
"Marianne Gingrich has said she could end her ex-husband's career with a single interview," the Drudge Report teased in touting its exclusive report of an interview that Newt Gingrich's second wife gave earlier in the week to ABC News.

Gingrich's ex sat down with ABC News' Brian Ross for a 2-hour interview. The Wall Street Journal reported that the interview is scheduled to run Thursday on "Nightline," just two days before the critical South Carolina Republican presidential primary. An earlier report on Drudge said the interview was "tentatively" scheduled to air on Monday, after the primary was over.

According to Drudge, which claimed that a "civil" war had erupted in the ABC News department over when to air the interview, "her explosive revelations are set to rock the trail."

In the wake of the news, Gingrich's campaign is already busy preemptively doing damage control. The campaign released a written statement Wednesday from Gingrich's two daughters.

"We will not say anything negative about our father’s ex-wife. He has said before, privately and publicly, that he regrets any pain he may have caused in the past to people he loves," wrote Kathy Lubbers and Jackie Cushman. "ABC News or other campaigns may want to talk about the past, just days before an important primary election. But Newt is going to talk to the people of South Carolina about the future."

A senior adviser to Gingrich also told the National Review Online that his ex is "very bitter," while another source claimed, "Marianne Gingrich’s unhappiness with how things ended is something people close to  Newt have known for a long time. The real response from people who know him is disappointment with Marianne for doing this, and sadness about the whole situation.”

Newt Gingrich has said that he and his second his wife no longer have any relationship, the Associated Press reported.
The interview could potentially deal a blow to Gingrich, who is currently running second, according to polls, in the South Carolina primary. However the latest CNN poll shows his support there is rising. "Gingrich appears to be the only candidate with momentum as the race in South Carolina enters the final few days," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.
More from the AP:

The interview comes as Gingrich, the former House speaker, is trying to topple GOP front-runner Mitt Romney by casting himself as the more conservative option in the GOP presidential race. It would shine a spotlight on a part of Gingrich's past that could turn off Republican voters in a state filled with religious and cultural conservatives who may cringe at Gingrich's two divorces and acknowledged infidelities.

Marianne Gingrich has said Gingrich proposed to her before the divorce from his first wife was final in 1981; they were married six months later. Her marriage to Gingrich ended in divorce in 2000, and Gingrich has admitted he'd already taken up with Callista Bisek, a former congressional aide who would become his third wife. The speaker who pilloried President Bill Clinton for his affair with Monica Lewinsky was himself having an affair at the time.

The National Review Online reported that several sources close to Gingrich believe the interview will simply be a retread of one she gave to Esquire Magazine in August 2010. In that interview, Marianne Gingrich scoffed when told her ex-husband was interested in running for president. "There's now way," she told the magazine then. "He could have been president. But when you try and change your history too much, and try and recolor it because you don't like the way it was or you want it to be different to prove something new ... you lose touch with who you really are. You lose your way."

She added: "He believes that what he says in public and how he lives don't have to be connected. If you believe that, then yeah, you can run for president."
ABC News reportedly wanted Gingrich to come on "Nightline" and offer a rebuttal, but his advisers declined the offer. Excerpts from Marianne Gingrich's interview will be released throughout the day, ahead of the Thursday evening Republican debate in Charleston, South Carolina.

Best way to find more great content from Neon Tommy?

Or join our email list below to enjoy the weekly Neon Tommy News Highlights.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.