Gingrich admits to having no character witnesses in ‘open marriage’ scandal

By Stephen C. Webster
Thursday, January 26, 2012 11:08 EDT
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Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA). Photo: AFP.
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Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) has been on the defensive ever since his second wife, Marianne, told ABC News recently that he asked for an “open marriage” after six years of sleeping with his mistress — but last night, the scandal hit a new low when his campaign revealed that the candidate misspoke about having “several” character witnesses ready to speak on his behalf.

Asked about the scandal by CNN host John King during a recent Republican debate, Gingrich lashed out at the anchor, accusing him and CNN of journalistic malpractice. He also insisted that he’d offered “several” character witnesses to ABC News to refute Marianne’s claims, but “they weren’t interested” because the media only wants to attack Republicans.

ABC News insisted that was false, saying that Gingrich offered no character witnesses whatsoever. Confronted by King in a follow-up, Gingrich repeated his claim with even greater incredulity, telling him the campaign had “several people prepared” to be “very aggressive in their dispute about that.”

In a segment last night, King explained that after “persistent questioning” Gingrich’s campaign admitted that they did not offer any sources with intimate knowledge of his second marriage, saying instead that Newt’s two daughters from his first marriage could speak to his character.

Gingrich has still not presented anyone who can refute his second wife’s claim.

He’s instead adopted an unusual strategy of pretending that his extramarital affairs actually help boost his candidacy in the eyes of religious conservatives. The unusual position is essentially the same thing that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) said recently, suggesting that a revelation about Gingrich’s second marriage will actually help him “soar even more.”

Gingrich has said he would consider Palin for a cabinet-level position in his potential administration.

This video was broadcast by CNN on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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