Ever since he started running for political office back in the 1970s, Gingrich has championed that "America needs a return to moral values." Right from the start Gingrich made sure there were plenty of photos of his wife and children as well as frequent references to him being a deacon and Sunday school teacher. His wife campaigned hard for him and even helped attack his female Congressional opponent. Gingrich promised that if elected he would keep his family together and take them with him to Washington unlike his opponent who said that she would commute and let her kids stay in their schools.
Writer Gail Sheehy found Anne Manning who revealed that "We had oral sex. He prefers that modus operandi because then he can say, 'I never slept with her.'" She said that Gingrich also told her: "If you ever tell anybody about this, I'll say you're lying."
During the same time frame, one lady said whenever her husband was out of town that Newt kept hitting on her. She claimed that Newt even approached her after the death of a relative and seized the occasion to try to seduce her.
But the man who promised voters he would never break up his family waited only eighteen months after being elected before approaching his wife, Jackie, on the hospital bed where she lay for her third cancer surgery and telling her that he was divorcing her.
During the 1978 campaign, his wife underwent surgery for cancer of the uterus. Naturally, Newt felt free to use her condition to get sympathy votes. Yet, as she lay in her hospital bed, Newt showed little sympathy to the woman who had worked so hard to support him while he attended college and graduate school. As his first wife recalled, "The two girls came to see me, and said, 'Daddy is downstairs. Could he come up?' When he got there, he wanted to discuss the terms of the divorce while I was recovering from my surgery." Another witness, Lee Howell, said that "Newt came up there with his yellow legal pad, and he had a list of things on how the divorce was going to be handled. He wanted her to sign it. She was still recovering from surgery, still sort of out of it, and he comes in with a yellow sheet of paper, handwritten, and wants her to sign it." Such interesting traditional Christian family values Newt does have.
A few years later, Gingrich told a reporter from Mother Jones that "I'm not going to get into those details or the questions about 1974. 1 think there is a level of personal life that is personal. . . . I had married my high-school math teacher two days after I was 19."
Gingrich had married his "buxom, matronly" high-school geometry teacher who tutored him at night in the backseat of a car. They even got stuck once in a tank trap at Fort Benning, Ga.
Despite all that his wife had done for him, Gingrich left her lying not only in a hospital bed to deal with cancer, Newt left her holding the bag. Church members had to raise money to feed her and the children, and keep the utilities from being cut off. When Jackie took the Newt to court , he claimed, even though he was a Congressman, that he could provide his exwife only $400 a month. But, he would throw in $40 in allowances for his daughters. Newt said Jackie could go back to teaching to support her and the kids. Fortunately, the judge disagreed and held that a Congressman could afford to feed his children and keep their heat and lights on.
Newt apparently had little need for her anymore. L.H. Carter, a former campaign treasurer, said that Newt had said of his first wife that : "She's not young enough or pretty enough to be the wife of the President. And besides, she has cancer." No wonder his first wife told the members of his church that "The devil has taken his heart."
In the meantime, Newt took a second wife, Marianne Ginther, in 1981. She lasted until around the time she found out that she might have multiple sclerosis. Then the Newt called his second wife at her mother's on Mother's Day 1999 to tell her over the phone that he was divorcing her and that he had been having an affair. This was but a mere four years after telling the Conference of Mayors that Victorian England was wonderful for "reestablishing values, by moral leadership and by being willing to look at people in the face and say, 'You should be ashamed.'"
But instead of being ashamed himself, Newt had been hounding Bill Clinton about his morality. Of course, while denouncing Clinton for having sex with Monica Lewinsky, Gingrich was doing the wild thing with a hot young Congressional aide 23 years younger than the Grand Inquisitor Newt. However, do not for a single second think that there was anything irreligious about Newt's extramarital affair with Callista Bisek, whom he later married. MSNBC reported that Bisek sung in the National Shrine Choir at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and Newt would wait for her while reading his Bible.
But let's be fair and balanced. Newt was likewise less than a traditional gentleman in divorcing his second wife. "We don't know. We just don't know. If you find out, let me know. It's a mystery." That's what wife number two told Salon when she was asked why Newt was being so mean during the divorce.
His second wife also said that she didn't want Newt to run for President. " I told him if I'm not in agreement, fine, it's easy. I just go on the air the next day, and I undermine everything. ... I don't want him to be president and I don't think he should be."