Michael Gaynor
What does Mrs. Gingrich No. 2 know that voters should know too?
By Michael Gaynor
December 9, 2011

We must demand good character from public servants and candidates to be public servants regardless of their political affiliation.

Now that the Gingrich presidential campaign has surged, will America be hearing from Marianne Gingrich (Mrs. Gingrich No. 2) soon?

If not, is that because Mrs. Gingrich No. 2 is quietly supporting her ex, or averse to the public spotlight, or bound by no disparagement and/or confidentiality clauses in a divorce agreement with the former House Speaker and current presidential aspirant.

If there is no legal impediment to Mrs. Gingrich No. 2 speaking out, then she should come forward now, because character counts, especially in Presidents, and she surely knows things that voters should know too before they start caucusing or voting.

If there is a legal impediment, then that is worth knowing too and she needs to be free.

Has America's moral decline proceeded to the point that Gingrich can become the 2012 Republican presidential nominee?

Ten years earlier, Gingrich could not have won a Senate seat in Arkansas.

Republican Tim Hutchinson, a former Baptist minister and senator from Arkansas, unsuccessfully ran for re-election in 2002. He had just divorced his wife of 29 years to marry a younger aide. He said God had forgiven him. Most voters preferred Democrat, Mark Pryor.

In 2000, Gingrich divorced Marianne Gingrich (Mrs. Gingrich No. 2), his wife of 19 years, to marry current wife, Callista Gingrich (Mrs. Gingrich No. 3), with whom he had an affair that both preceded and followed a failed reconciliation with Mrs. Gingrich No. 2. (Gingrich had divorced Mrs. Gingrich No. 1, his first wife of 19 years, to marry Mrs. Gingrich No. 2, with whom he likewise had been involved before his first divorce.)

Victoria Toensing is an attorney who represented Mrs. Gingrich No. 2 and the person whom Emily Bazelon of Slate.com called "a blanketer of the airwaves about the tawdriness of the Lewinsky affair."

Why hasn't Toensing been interviewed recently on Fox News about Gingrich's fitness to be President of the United States?

In 2005 Toensing told The New York Times, "It's much classier not to say anything" www.nytimes.com/2005/11/13/weekinreview/13zern.html?_r=1

BUT...with the fate of the United States at stake, voters should hear from Mrs. Gingrich No. 2 and Toensing (who supported Fred Thompson in 2008).

Stephen Hess, a professor of media at George Washington University and the author of "The Little Book of Campaign Etiquette": It's amazing how ex-wives seem to get out of the way. They either refuse to comment or say rather pleasant things."

Not always.

Some ex-wives have come forward at propitious moments with pertinent information that voters deserved to know.

In "What Some Politicians Fear Most: The Ex Wife" (www.nytimes.com/2005/11/13/weekinreview/13zern.html?_r=1), Kate Zernike cited three examples:

Joanne Corzine, former Senator and New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine's ex-wife, publicly accused him of abandoning his family for ambition near the end of his first gubernatorial campaign. Corzine's Republican rival, Douglas Forrester, used her message in tv ads, but Democrat Corzine won anyway. However, Corzine was NOT re-elected, losing to Governor Chris Christie, and soon I expected to take the Fifth Amendment as a witness in Congressional investigations.

Rita Jenrette, announced that she would divorce her husband, then South Carolina representative John W. Jenrette, after she found $25,000, later identified as bribe money in his brown suede shoe.

Sheila Rauch Kennedy, ex-wife of Joseph P. Kennedy II, then a Massachusetts congressman, wrote in a 1997 book that he had bullied her into an annulment. Kennedy, then the Democratic favorite for governor of Massachusetts, soon announced that he would leave politics.

Betty Talmadge, ex wife of Herman E. Talmadge, once a Democrat senator from Georgia, told the Senate Ethics Committee that he had kept tens of thousands of dollars in small bundles in the pocket of an overcoat that hung in the hall closet. He was denounced by the Senatye and defeated for re-election the next year.

Ex-wives may want to protect their children, but Gingrich and Mrs. Gingrich No. 2 did not have any children.

"Ex-wife: Newt knew I was ailing," by Brian Blomquist, written in July 2000 (www.mult-sclerosis.org/news/Jul2000/PWMSNewtsEx.html), indicates that Mrs. Gingrich No. 2 knows that Gingrich lies to try to seem less bad than he really is.

"Newt Gingrich won't be winning the Mr. Sensitivity Award any time soon.

"The former House Speaker and his ex-wife, Marianne Gingrich, are in a bit of a dispute over whether Newt knew that she might have multiple sclerosis when he told her on Mother's Day 1999 that he wanted a divorce.

"For the ham-handed Newtster, breakups are a touchy issue.

"He notified his first wife, Jackie Battley, that he was divorcing her in 1981 after she was hospitalized with cancer.

"Marianne's lawyer said Newt knew in September 1998 — eight months before he notified her that he was ditching her — that Marianne had been diagnosed with a neurological condition that might be a 'forerunner of multiple sclerosis,' according to the Atlanta neurosurgeon who treated her.

"But Newt's lawyer, Randy Evans, said yesterday Newt didn't know that Marianne might have had MS when he broke the bad news to her.

"Evans said he and Newt learned later — sometime during the divorce case that started in May 1999 and ended in April 2000 — about Marianne's condition.

"'His nose is growing,' responded Marianne's lawyer and friend, Victoria Toensing.

"When Evans was told that Marianne's account differed from his, he said, 'That's not my recollection.'

"But then Evans backtracked and said it was possible that Newt and Marianne discussed her medical situation privately before he learned about it during the divorce case.

"Multiple sclerosis is a degenerative neurological disease.

"Newt, 57, told Marianne, 48, he wanted to end their 19-year marriage while she was visiting his mother on Mother's Day.

"Newt, 57, secretly had been having an affair with congressional aide Callista Bisek, 34, whom he plans to marry next month in Alexandria, Va. That would make the blond-haired Bisek wife No. 3 for the onetime Republican revolutionary.

"Toensing said there's no doubt that Newt knew all about his wife's condition at the time she went to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta and was diagnosed with possible MS in September 1998, just before Newt announced he was giving up his job as speaker of the House and quitting Congress."

We must demand good character from public servants and candidates to be public servants regardless of their political affiliation.

© Michael Gaynor


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Michael Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member... (more)


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