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Newt Gingrich Challenged by Ivy Leaguer on Extramarital Affair

3 years ago
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Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich got an unpleasant preview Tuesday night of what may lie ahead -- at least in some unfriendly venues -- if he decides to launch a campaign for president.

Gingrich, speaking at the University of Pennsylvania, was challenged by a Democratic student to square his moralistic stand on social issues with an illicit relationship he had while married in the 1990s, Politico and the Daily Pennsylvanian reported.

"You adamantly oppose gay rights . . . but you've also been married three times and admitted to having an affair with your current wife while you were still married to your second," said Isabel Friedman, president of the Penn Democrats. "As a successful politician who's considering running for president, who would set the bar for moral conduct and be the voice of the American people, how do you reconcile this hypocritical interpretation of the religious values that you so vigorously defend?"

Gingrich, an outspoken conservative, didn't take kindly to the grilling. "I'll bet almost everyone here can gather the thrust of your question," he told her. "I appreciate the delicacy and generosity in the way it was framed. . . I hope you feel better about yourself."

Gingrich, who has admitted to an affair with a woman who is now his third wife, followed with his take on his political viability. "I've had a life, which, on occasion, has had problems," he said in Politico's account of the speech. "I believe in a forgiving God, and the American people will have to decide whether that [is] their primary concern."

He was also heckled by AIDS demonstrators who marched out of lrvine Auditorium carrying placards declaring, "Global AIDS Budget Cuts Kill," the student newspaper reported. One shouted, "That's a million lives we're talking about!"

Friedman said she didn't regret asking Gingrich the pointed question. "He has offended more people than I did," she said.

But Penn senior Grant Dubler found it "very inappropriate and irrelevant. I would have preferred policy questions."

Gingrich, 67, has said he will announce next month whether he intends to go forward with a campaign for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.

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740 Comments

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Dc. Bob

Mr G, please don't even think twice about running for the presidency. As a longstanding Republican I can guarantee that you are NOT made of the right stuff.

March 02 2011 at 11:23 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
fluap08

I would be thrilled to have either GINGRICH or HUCKABEE as our president. Either one would be preferable to all the other candidates, and especially to whom we have in the Oval Office now. This community organizer has the United States on a path to disaster, bankruptcy, and inevitable decline; he's in way over his head, and his administration is morally bankrupt.

March 01 2011 at 10:53 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to fluap08's comment
redevils74

So.. Newt is not morally corrupt? talk about the pot calling the kettle black! The hypocrisy never ends with right wingers...! So we can forgive Newt for having an affair, for the second time, while he was publicly calling for impeachment of President Clinton for his transgressions...! Unbelievable!!

March 11 2011 at 10:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jfrank5317

Not only did Ms. Friedman have the right to ask the question, Gingrich knows that at some time in the future, should he choose to run for President (and I can't imagine how he could hope to clear that hurdle), he'll be called upon in the glare of the media spotlight to provide and answer.

March 01 2011 at 5:40 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
mark52947

She had the right to ask the question. When a politician tells you what he is against on moral grounds and yet this same politician, has has been known to cheat on his previous wives, he has no morals. So he cannot tell everyone else how they should carry on their lives.
He is a hypocrite. And if he does want to run for President, both Republicans and Democrats can go after him on this issue.

March 01 2011 at 3:01 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
hubigspies

Who cares if the man had an affair with a woman 25-30 years ago? The affair was most likely before this student was born, has nothing to do with 'gay rights' and 'family values' is not the campaign platform. I would be much more interested if the student asked a question about unemployment, economic instability, the deficit spending, the expanse of government, the middle east, health care or any number of relevant issues facing our nation. This is just smearing a possible candidate for the sake of smearing. Foolishness.

March 01 2011 at 9:46 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to hubigspies's comment
looiedl

...because this was the man who so vigorously went after Bill Clinton when all along he was having an affair! How can an affair have nothing to do with family values? That's one platform the GOP constantly campaigns on, no?
What good what it do to ask Newt about unemployment. All we'll hear then is the robot-like GOP demogaugery, "Tax cuts, deregulate, tax cuts, deregulate...."

March 01 2011 at 3:25 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
head4uboy

"But Penn senior Grant Dubler found it "very inappropriate and irrelevant. I would have preferred policy questions."

What this student is forgetting that Republicians run on family values.isn't that a policy..we continue to hear it from them..so I feel the question was approiate...at one time I would have said this is on ones business...but now after the Clinton grilling its open season and we see far more right-wingers than liberals cheating on wifes and familes. You run for offcie you are an open book these days....wonder whose next in line to be outted!!!

February 28 2011 at 4:47 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
capricorncarr

Moral issues are important for any viable candidate. As a mom, grandma and also a Republican..I really could not support Gingrich for this very important and critical iffuce, He certainly is in no position to take a moralistic and pious stand with others.

February 27 2011 at 7:59 PM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply
Jody

Wasn't the debate on this topic ended long ago by Clinton?????

February 27 2011 at 7:08 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
oldhorsema

No one could be more delighted with Gingrich announcing he is running for president than President Obama

February 27 2011 at 6:19 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
Cynthia

You've got to be joking right?....This to Newt, when Bill Clinton did what - While in office? The entire Kennedy philandering family, John Edwards fathering an illegitimate child while his wife was dying from cancer? Please....People in glass houses....

February 25 2011 at 3:22 PM Report abuse -8 rate up rate down Reply
5 replies to Cynthia's comment

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