Marianne Gingrich, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s “second ex-wife”– as the promotional material puts it— unloaded on the former House Speaker as a philandering hypocrite in an interview with ABC’s Brian Ross scheduled to air tonight on “Nightline.” The much-anticipated interview comes as Gingrich’s candidacy is surging and just a day before South Carolina primary voters will head to the polls.
Gingrich’s ex tells Ross that Newt sought an “open marriage” after admitting to a six-year affair with a congressional aide. Like something out of a John Cheever or Philip Roth novel, she said he asked her to share him with the other woman, Callista, who is now married to Gingrich, even as he was attempting to hound President Bill Clinton out of office for being a morally bankrupt leader based on the affair Clinton conducted with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
“I just stared at him and he said, ‘Callista doesn’t care what I do.’ He wanted an open marriage and I refused.”
Choice bits from the ABC news preview release:
Marianne described her “shock” at Gingrich’s behavior, including how she says she learned he conducted his affair with Callista “in my bedroom in our apartment in Washington.”
“He always called me at night,” she recalled, “and always ended with ‘I love you.’ Well, she was listening.”
All this happened, she said, during the same time Gingrich condemned President Bill Clinton for his lack of moral leadership.
She said Newt moved for the divorce just months after she had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, with her then-husband present.
“He also was advised by the doctor when I was sitting there that I was not to be under stress. He knew,” she said.
Gingrich divorced his first wife, Jackie, as she was being treated for cancer. His relationship with Marianne began while he was still married to Jackie but in divorce proceedings, Marianne said.
Marianne Gingrich has dished about the the former Speaker’s marital failings previously but with the ABC interview she seems intent to unburden herself fully and to torpedo Gingrich’s standing with “family values” conservative voters.
The Gingrich campaign is set to receive a boost today when Texas Governor Rick Perry withdraws and throws his support to Gingrich as a more reliably conservative candidate than frontrunner Mitt Romney.