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How much will Newt Gingrich's personal baggage affect his run for the White House?
November 16th, 2011
04:00 PM ET

How much will Newt Gingrich's personal baggage affect his run for the White House?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It was only a matter of time. It always is.

With Newt Gingrich suddenly rising big time in the polls, his opponents are starting to make an issue of his personal baggage. The tabloid stuff - like the fact that the former house speaker is on his third marriage and is an adulterer.

Politico reports that there's a flyer circulating in Iowa from a group called Christian Leaders in Government.

Among other things, it asks: If Newt Gingrich can't be faithful to his wife, how can we trust him to be faithful to conservative voters?"

Airing a candidate's dirty laundry is nothing new... especially in the primaries in early voting states.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that while there have been several presidents unfaithful to their wives, Ronald Reagan has been the only divorced president. Gingrich has both strikes against him.

Experts say Gingrich will have to address his personal past, but some believe voters won't dwell on it. Like him or not, Gingrich is a smart guy who might be the most capable of the current GOP batch of dealing with the critical issues we face. The bar isn't exactly high.

Plus half of Americans get divorced these days. And if every politician who has been unfaithful left office, Washington would be a ghost town.

But not everyone thinks it's not that big a deal. A columnist at Salon.com writes that Gingrich "committed so many political and ethical transgressions that his baggage has baggage."

Gingrich is twice divorced. He left his first wife after her cancer treatment and he left his second wife for a staffer.

UPDATE: We heard from Newt Gingrich’s daughter, Jackie Gingrich Cushman. She says that Newt Gingrich and her mother (his first wife) were in the process of dissolving their marriage weeks before her mom went into the hospital to have a tumor removed. She says the tumor was benign; there was no cancer. Gingrich Cushman suggests that time and the media have created an inaccurate impression of what really happened.

Gingrich says he expects questions about his three marriages and infidelity. But he insists he's happily married and has reconciled all this with God.

Here’s my question to you: How much will Newt Gingrich's personal baggage affect his run for the White House?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Gerry in Arizona:
The importance of Newt Gingrich's baggage seems to be diminishing more and more with each debate. People are putting more value into his ability to find solutions to our problems than his previous marital problems. He may have flunked marriage, but he certainly seems to have a grasp of government.

Jon:
I think all the grown-ups in the room understand that all candidates probably have some personal baggage; it's just that some baggage is currently public record. None of the Republican candidates are my personal favorite, but I would swim through shark-infested waters bleeding and half dead in order to cast one vote for any of them to replace Obama. Newt's past doesn't bother me at all compared to Obama's present.

Fran in Escondido, California:
Newt has more baggage than a 747. There is not one Democrat who would vote for him. And when Independents and moderate Republicans learn of his mean and crazy background they will not think of voting for him. He will not make it to that point. So I don't think we have to worry about him. He will join Trump, Bachmann, Palin, Perry, Cain and Santorum in the loony bin.

Benjamin on Facebook:
Hell will freeze over before Gingrich wins the nomination. Gingrich's baggage goes beyond cheating on wives; he's everything Washington.

Brian:
I don't know of ANYONE who doesn't have a skeleton or two in the closet. Neither do I know of anyone who hasn't changed his mind over time. In short, I believe that Newt has worked through all the problems, and will be our best conservative presidential hopeful.

Mel:
Jack, You would think that it would have considerable influence since he's Republican, the party of "family values". However, the Republicans are still searching for anyone who knows where Libya is located.

Posted by
Filed under: 2012 Election • Newt Gingrich • White House
soundoff (119 Responses)
  1. Larry -Denver

    Newt's carries oral baggage. If any other candidate will just use Newt's sound bites from the past 18 months no need to pull out the other baggage. Tiffanys, Freddie Mac, etc are pebbles on the beach compared to some of the things he utters in the course of a day. When does the parade of Republican clowns stop? Someone really needs to step forward who can keep their feet out of their mouths and not have "oops moments". See anyone on the horizon? nope.

    November 16, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
  2. David R Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    Jack there are two very important facts here.Whether you like Newt or not,whether you support him or not.The two facts are..............#1.Baggage will be HUGE & Dems will exploit that big time #2.For better or worse whether you are right or left he is the ONLY one that can beat Obama in a debate................the only one,period.If Mitt goes up against Obama in a debate it will be no contest and Perry would be chopped liver.I am not taking sides,I am reporting the facts.
    David

    November 16, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
  3. Rick in Atlanta

    The politics of personal destruction started with Newt Gingrich in the John Tower/Jim Wright episode. He's a political bomb thrower and a mean man. And how's that "Contract with America" thingy working out for us?

    November 16, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  4. wayne, va beach, va

    Not much, he's not running for Pope.

    November 16, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
  5. Noel Sivertson Roswell New Mexico.

    Is Newt running for presdient? I thought he was just promoting Gingrich Enterprises Inc.

    Does anyone think he is really serious? Like Sarah Palin he has bigger fish to fry than holding public office and putting all his businesses and holdings in trust.

    November 16, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
  6. JD in NH

    I guess it depends on how voters feel about a man who would serve his wife with divorce papers while she's in the hospital suffering from cancer.

    November 16, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
  7. Dan Kash

    Probably not as much as it should. The public crucified Clinton and several democratic congressmen for their "zipper problems" but it seems that we soon forget these transgressions (especially when it comes to the conservitive politicians) !!! Most people do not even remember Newt's infidelity problems or his "coddling of the rich" views as a congressional leader!\
    dan
    kash Owens Cross Rds Alabama

    November 16, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
  8. Jon Salsbury

    I think all the grown-ups in the room understand that all candidates probably have some personal baggage; it's just that some baggage is currently public record. None of the republican candidates are my personal favorite, but I would swim through shark-infested waters bleeding and half dead in order to cast one vote for any of them to replace Obama. Newt's past doesn't bother me at all compared to Obama's present.

    Jon
    Lima, Ohio

    November 16, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
  9. Richard35 Canfield, Ohio

    Jack as a youngster I used to collect stamps. Newt Gingrich seems to want to collect Wives. We are all with many faults and/or sin, But come on how would this Not effect him?

    November 16, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
  10. Mel - Houston

    Jack, you would think that it would have considerable influence since he's Republican, the party of Family Values". However, the Republican are still searching for anyone who knows were Libya is located.

    November 16, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
  11. John from Alabama

    Jack: Newt tried to impeach President Clinton while Mr. Gingrich was having an affair. Mr. Gringrich closed down the government, because he was an arrogant fool. The only reason Newt Gringrich is enjoying such good ratings is because the rest of field is shooting itself in the foot. Give the Eye of Newt a chance an he will screw up big time. Do not be fooled Newt is a stupid conservative with some way out ideas. Newt's way or the highway, but this all we have had from theTea Party Republican wing, and we do not need more of the same.

    November 16, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  12. Ben in Silver Spring, MD

    Personal baggage only matters on airplanes. His two divorces, his three marriages, his demand of divorce from his first wife in her hospital room while she was battling cancer really do not matter. The fact that he is a despicable excuse for a human being does.

    November 16, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
  13. Bill (Tacoma)

    This is the republican version of "Cinderella" and her very ugly sisters; Newt Gingrich's is the ugliest and the glass slippers does not fit. They will eventually chose there prince charming: Mitt Romney.

    November 16, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
  14. Michael Bindner, Alexandria, VA

    His political baggage is worse. No cross over voter will ever forgive him for going after Clinton for a minor sexual indiscretion. He represents the Republican revolution, which limits him to base support only. Romney's history of changing his position will actually help him with moderate cross over voters.

    November 16, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  15. Terri from East TN

    I hope it completely removes him as a viable candidate. I see him as helping create part of the problems we now have. Plus, does anyone honestly believe he understands the plight of the middle and lower class? If you have a revolvinghalf a million dollare account at Tiffany's, you are not grounded in the same life as most of us.

    November 16, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  16. Gary H. Boyd

    Not enough to wad a shotgun Jack.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    November 16, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  17. Richard Texas

    I don't think that Gingrich's personal baggage will effect his chance as much as George Bushes baggage will effect him. People see any republican running as just another George Bush clone. The painful memory of the Bush administration and slow downward spiral of our economy under Bush and the republicans control is what people remember. It will take at least one more term of a bad economy in order to turn the table so that republicans might be given another chance at the Whitehouse. It is not who the republicans choose to run but what the republicans stand for along with their policies and agenda that leave a nasty taste in everyone's mouth. They are perceived as war mongers and rightfully so.

    November 16, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  18. john thomas

    Kind of like the baggage he's carrying around his midsection. It's large, ugly and is going to be around for a long time. With that said, he's the only legitimate candidate the GOP has. All the others are stupid, oops, flip floppers, no experience, too damned old or they've had their hand under too many skirts. Don't look good for the GOP Jack.
    John Thomas from the Florida Keys

    November 16, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
  19. David in Tampa

    As far as I am concerned it will come back to haunt him big time and it should. From his Freddie/Sally income to his personal conduct during the Clinton debacle and how many other things he may have done that may not have been illegal but highly immoral or unethical. More fodder for the likes of Cafferty and Biltzer. I for one will love seeing him get his comeuppance.

    November 16, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  20. Pete in Georgia

    Gingrich is the strongest Republican "intellectual" threat to Obama and because of that, will be completely demonized and destroyed by the mainstream media. It's their job......................to protect, with all their power, the Socialist dictator now in office.

    November 16, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  21. Pete from Florida

    A lot of voters are too young to remember all the ethics and integrity problems Gingrich had in the 90's, but I'm not. All I can say for Newt is that I trust him about as much as his wives and mistresses do.....which is to say, I don't.

    November 16, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  22. Dennis north carolina

    His baggage will take him out of the running. right now he is being treated with kids gloves but when the race gets serious the kids gloves will come off and all the baggage will be fair game which will take him out of the race.

    November 16, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
  23. Cy Gardner

    All of the people who don't watch the lliars on Fox know that he's a liar, a hypocrite and a serial adulterer.At some point before the primaries word may even filter down to the dim bulbs in the Fox audience that Newt is a joke. Contrary to the Fox business model, you can't fool all the people all of the time. cy from arlington, va

    November 16, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  24. Kim M Hunter ( Mr.)

    Jack, the Atlantic is a big ocean, and Newts problems are about like that. But his problems are not anything like the Pacific ocean, is it? Therefore, his baggage is doable. But if his baggage was as big as the Pacific then he would be gone. He is very smart and everybody knows that, including the Democrats who probably fear him more than anyone else. That is why the left are trying to knock him out in the first round, since they hope Mitt Romney will be the candidate. The left would love to have Obama deal with Mitt than with Newt. If Newt gets the nomination, then he has an excellent chance to win the Presidency.

    November 16, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  25. Mike North Port, FL

    After 8 years of White House cheating scandals by Bill Clinton during the 90's the bar is set pretty low. In todays political arena no one has a right to criticize the personal life of Newt Gingrich.

    November 16, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  26. Jk from Minnesota

    It means a lot to me, Jack. I personally have a problem with a person in the role of President who has an affair while their spouse is ailing – doesn't matter which party affiliation they are. Add in the 6-figure outstanding bill he ran up at the Jewelry store that he really didn't give a clear explanation for at a time when most Americans are struggling to make ends meet and means to me in my opinion that Newt is not the Leader this country needs – period!

    November 16, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  27. Paul From Austin Texas

    Big time Jack. He is running as the guy that can do no wrong and never has. Yet look at his past and even now and he is far from what role he is playing. Don't think we should trust this guy.

    November 16, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  28. Gerry

    The importance of Newt Gingrich's baggage seems to be diminishing more and more with each debate that he participates in. People are putting more value into his ability to finding political and budget solutions than his previous marital problems. He may have flunked in the marital department but he certainly seems to have a grasp for government. The Republicans have a real horse race but we'll have to see who the finishers are.

    Gerry
    Ash Fork, Az

    November 16, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  29. Conor in Chicago

    His personal baggage might have a serious effect. But, if America rejects him, it will be based more on his radical Right-Wing ideology than it will be anything else. Americans traditionally choose a Centrist president and for all of Obama's shortcomings he most certainly wins the "Centrist" debate if given a choice between the two.

    November 16, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  30. Ken in Victoria BC

    Well, I suggest he will be swift boated because of such baggage. He is increasing his popular vote total. In due course the other contenders will attack. He will fall back as quickly as he rose. Mr. Obama and his supporters must be really enjoying the GOP race to the bottom.

    November 16, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  31. Ed from California

    Newt hasn't a chance in hell, at all in winning anything. What the Newt and Herman are doing is warming their base up for their upcoming books, and a new FOX"News" deal.

    November 16, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  32. Virginia - Atlanta, GA

    Newt is a narrow minded divisive person who thinks highly of himself. If even a few of his speeches from the 1990's are shown to the public, the whole distasteful hypocritical, arrogant, history rewriting, person will be remembered. Was it his second or his first wife whom he told he was divorcing her while she was recovering from breast cancer in the hospital???

    November 16, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  33. Thom Richer

    Gingrich's personal baggage will not harm in any significant way given the fact that he will not be the next president of the United States in 2012. The thing that should count him out of this race is his personal "Fleecing of America" by being bought off by monies from Freddie Mac. This government scam has hurt Americans in a most vial and deliberate way...greed. However, the most disgusting part of his involvement with Freddie Mac is he defends what he did and still supports Freddie Mac. Is there no one in politics with any character at all? Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are not good for Americans and continue the Fleecing of America with undeserved and greed ridden bonuses. How many cheeks do we turn before we say, "Enough.?" I can only hope he and the others spend oodles and oodles of their own and their corporate cronies dollars on what is destined to be a failed run for the White House for each of them. Too bad...Gingrich is the only one out of the bunch with any presidential intellect and ability.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    November 16, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  34. Doug Ericson

    Newts personal baggage will prevent him from winning the nomination, and Romney will not pick him for a running mate. Go write a book Newt. Doug. Pepperell, MA.

    November 16, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  35. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    Newt Gingrich makes Cain look like a choirboy. It is one thing to cheat and leave your wife. It is another thing to do it while she is in the hospital with cancer. He is married to his third wife, the first two he was unfaithful. He owed some expensive jewelry store close to one million dollars. He condemns Freddie and Fannie while collecting a large sum of money in consulting fees from them. I don't know how the republican party can preach moral values and then turn around and vote for this man to be there presidential candidate?

    November 16, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  36. Jim

    Jack,

    The rabid right won't care about his extra-marital affairs, or his "consulting" work for Freddie Mac, or any of the rest. They turn a blind eye to flaws in their own hateful, fulminating candidates. The other 70% of the electorate, however, will find Gingrich to be as noxious and unsuitable as ever. If he gets the GOP nomination, it guarantees a landslide victory for Obama.

    Jim
    Reno, Nevada

    November 16, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  37. David , Laguna Niguel CA

    It depends Jack, If the press treats his baggage like it did Obama's it won't have any impact, If they keep hammering it like they have the accusations against Cain, day in and day out with out any substantial proof to back then up, there may be some impact. The difference between Obama's and Gingrich's baggage, is that Newt does't blame his on other people.

    November 16, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  38. irrelevent

    simple fact is, he knows how to was poetice about foreign affairs that endanger other folks lives for non working unsustainable shareholders getting tax breaks to speculate further but, his integrity of interior issues that proliferate fossil fuel jobs and alternatives that cause cancer and get subsidies to enrich those who undermine all u.s. health always distracts into social engineering philosophies while ignoring the debauchery practiced by the 2 party monopoly that gave status quo allowances within financial refrom ,that continues to imiplode lives while special interest congress try to act non racist by backstabbing white people so immigrants willing to work cheaper get to take over housing from hard working and cheated americans police stated into second rate perception of 1st world quality life...

    November 16, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
  39. Brad, Portland, OR

    Newt has a LOT of baggage. Not only did he cheat on all of his wives, including one in the hospital for cancer while at the same time leading the impeachment of Clinton for HIS adultery, but now it's coming out that he made over a million dollars lobbying Congress for Freddie Mac.

    I guess now Newt is one of those evil Freddie Mac-loving politicians, like Barney Frank and Chris Dodd.

    Let's see if the Republican primary voters are willing to overlook all that...

    November 16, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
  40. Paul, Parry Sound, Ontario

    Newt? That's some kind of lizard, isn't it? And aren't the larger lizards the ones that make all sorts of baggage? Yeah, it should affect his run.

    November 16, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
  41. Russ in PA

    Hopefully his baggage is quite heavy, as he represents the status quo in Washington, and appears to be another warmonger. No, Newt, we don't need to bomb Iran, and we don't need to have bases scattered in every country in the world. No, Newt, we don't need to hear the same logic from you or Obama that the President has the "right" to assassinate Americans.

    Ron Paul in 2012...

    November 16, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  42. Brian Maday

    I don't know of ANYONE who doesn't have a skeleton or two in the closet. Neither do I know of anyone who has "Changed his mind" over time. In short, I believe that Newt has worked through all the problems, and will be our best Conservative Presidential hopeful.

    November 16, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  43. Loren

    Much as we'd like to think it doesn't make a difference, it will. I will note, however, that the role of baggage falls heavily on the press. Its infatuation with then-Senator Obama allowed a number of serious questions to pass unnoticed , much as it has with the current White House behavior seems to slide by, Solyndra anyone? For all of Gingrich's baggage, he's probably the best candidate among those running including our President in potential to work with Congress.

    Skeptical? Remember that it was life-long red-baiter Nixon who opened the door with China, though I think we'd be better off now if he kept it closed, particularly with what Clinton did.

    November 16, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  44. Frances

    Newt has more baggage than a 747. There is not one Democrat who would vote for him. And when Independents and moderate Republicans learn of his mean and crazy background they will not think of voting for him. He will not make it to that point. So I don't think we have to worry about him. He will join Trump, Bachmann, Palin, Perry, Cain and Santorum in the loony bin.

    Fran
    Escondido, CA

    November 16, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  45. Bill of New Mexico

    Newt's war with Clinton and the Democrats. Newt's treatment of his wife. No way!

    But, how many voters watched the news in the 90s? Even remember?

    Look at the other miserable candidates!

    10,000 cuss words! Newt is our next President?

    November 16, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  46. Tom in Desoto, TX

    Newt Gingrich aka, Mr New Leat but it's from the SAME TREE. Newt was the designer of "Contract with (on) America" early in Clinton years. In spite of his effort Clinton actually lowered the debt. That "Contract" was the seed of the ever division of the parties today. Instead of looking out for the people of the nation he started the boycotting of anything and everything that was republican. How much different is Mr New Leaf than Mr Old Leaf, the one who told his wife who was in the hospital with cancer that he wanted a divorce? We all should know where Newt stands on health care, any health care that is beyond Washington D.C's. I'm looking for Newt to grown a mustache, not beyond the nostrils. Newt doesn't have baggage, he as steamer trunks. And lets not forget his regisnation from Congress. New leaf, ya right.

    November 16, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  47. Annie, Atlanta

    If he just keeps repeating that he was a historical consultant to Freddie Mac instead of a lobbyist, or that he isn't selling books and dvds on the campaign trail, or that his PAC is for a good cause, even if that cause is helping himself to the money, the media will pick up and run with it as fact. We now live in a world where truths are lies, and lies are truths, as long as corporate owned media says so. Did you ever think we'd sink so low that our media would purposely misinform the public, Jack?

    November 16, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  48. Rick McDaniel

    Not much. Too long ago, and not very relevant now.

    November 16, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
  49. Ed from California

    Newt lives up to his name....a slimy lizard(amphibian, is the proper name).

    November 16, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  50. Lori - PA

    Jack,

    For me, that's a moot question as there is no way I would ever vote for Newt. Nor would I vote for any of the other current Republican nominees. I just don't have faith that any of them will really do anything to help the unemployed.

    November 16, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
  51. Rich in Gainesville FL

    Every candidate's personal baggage affects their support. Newt's got at least his fair share of baggage. Some of it is personal – for instance, those marriages – and voters have shown themselves to be pretty tolerant of these. But he's got some history (e.g., $1.6 million from Freddie Mac, being censured while House Speaker) that's usually not so easily overlooked by voters and which will be easy targets for Obama.

    November 16, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  52. Sylvia from San Diego

    Not at all and it shouldn't. What he does with his personal life is his business. I felt this way about Clinton when he was messing around with Monica. The only persons who should care are their spouses. We (and especially the media) need to start minding our own business and God knows, we have enough of that to worry about......

    November 16, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  53. Greg McCarthy

    Jack, If he would have NEWTered himself long ago,he wouldn't have all of this baggage,which BTW,would cost him a fortune on any airline. Bah-dum-tsh.
    Greg M. FL

    November 16, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  54. Karl in Flint

    Newt doesn't have baggage, he has steamer trunks full of moral, ethics and marriage issues. He will be as passe as Michelle and Rick by next summer if not before. You're trying to judge this horse race by the first hundred feet out of the gate. There's still the rest of the track to run in the next year. The GOP don't have a candidate yet, because they don't recognize the candidates that are worth supporting.

    November 16, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  55. Albert Sand Point ID

    How much will Newt Gingrich's personal baggage affect his run for the White House?

    Newt will never be president. He simply doesn't have the moral character to lead a god fearing christian nation.

    November 16, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  56. Steve, Clifton, Virginia

    Newt should be just fine provided he shows the original copy of his birth certificate; proves that he is a Christian; discloses his college transcripts; proves that he was born in the United States; and proves that he is not a Muslim.

    November 16, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  57. MARK, OKLAHOMA CITY

    With the way things are going in this country right now, maybe we need someone in the White House who has a whole truckload of that "personal baggage". The people with very tiny carry-on luggage just ain't gettin' the job done!

    November 16, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  58. Jim

    As an employer and Mr Gingrich applied for a job we would read his resume and do a background check. One Bag and he might be provisionally hired. Two Bags and he would receive a thanks for appling but the job has already been filled. But a baggage cart loaded with his baggage would make him permanently unacceptable for employement. As President of the United States he disqualified himself a long time ago. Character does Count!

    November 16, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  59. Bob from Bellmore, New York

    It won't affect him if he uses his credit line at Tiffany's to pay down the national debt.

    November 16, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  60. Meredith in Seattle

    Unfortunately Jack it will likely have a big impact. Newt just might be the one actually most qualified in terms of experience but with the election still a year away, if he continues to be a front runner for the GOP, things will come out that the media will be able to spin to make him appear like an elitist filanderer.

    November 16, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
  61. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: Newt Leory is an example of an individual who stayed at the party too long--–and his personal baggage--is like a ship's anchor around his neck. He will be lucky if Tiffany's allows him back into the store after the primaries. Newt is "well done toast,"--which the average voter will refuse do digest. He will look at the White House just like John Q. public--from the outside. When you sacrifice your name and character-–you can never get it back.

    November 16, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
  62. Bill West

    I don't think his past will hurt him that much. If he continues the way he has been going and stays more of the moderate, I think he will gradually pick up more and more support from moderate Republicans and Independents. He's far and away the best qualified of all the candidates – including Obama – to be President and certainly has an excellent track record in the past of being able to forge coalitions and get things done.

    November 16, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  63. Paulette Bent

    It will keep him out of the White House. It is not just his past baggage. His present wife is not winning any popularity contests and has been described as controlling and exhibiting Diva behavior.

    November 16, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  64. David from Herndon, VA

    Not enough. Infidelity is one thing. Newt's baggage takes it to a whole 'nother level.

    November 16, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  65. Kim, Dodge City, KS

    It should, but it won't matter to Republicans, and they are the ones who will nominate him. Maybe he doesn't have enough baggage for them, afterall, look at the other clowns that are in waiting.

    November 16, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  66. Joe

    There is no doubt that he has a lot of baggage. I'll bet an investigation into his finances since being first elected to Congress will reveal that he engaged in some insider trading and enriched himself while "serving." He and his relatives must have purchased a lot of stocks and real estate based on their insider knowledge. Many different gov't initiatives durting his tenure as Speaker led to many different sure-fire profit ventures. Does the average person have a six figure line of credit at Tiffany's or Cartier?

    November 16, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  67. Lene', IL

    A leopard doesn't change his stripes and I don't think Newt has the moral integrity to be trusted. Wasn't he the one going after Bill Clinton while he was himself committing adultry? Can you say hypocrite? Now I see him and all the other candidates stealing Ron Paul's talking points and ideas as if they were their own..LOL The only Candidate that has integrity is Ron Paul. He has something to offer everybody and you KNOW you can trust him!

    November 16, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  68. jeff in hawaii

    Jack,
    Newt's baggage will only affect him with the right wing religious wing nuts who are just as hypocritical as he is. Overall, what really will affect him are his crazy ideas like forcing the Government to shut down, (again), trickle down economics, etc.. There are many of us still around who know his voting record in the past, his ties to big business, and his playing on both sides of the fence with the housing debacle.

    November 16, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  69. Jim, Denver CO

    Jack,

    Newt is just the next flavor of the week for the Republicans. And they won't like his 'taste' very quickly. He is just another example of the religeous far right wings mentality of ABR (Anybody But Romney). What a bunch of schumcks!

    November 16, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  70. Rex in Portland, Oregon

    Gingrich died in 1988, Jack. This person, reborn in his skin, is the second coming. However, this second Newt is also an intellectual (or at least passes himself off as one) and therefore is doomed to failure within the republican party. The so-called 'conservatives' cannot tolerate intelligence or the abilithy to concentrate. Why worry about Newt?

    November 16, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  71. Karl in Flint

    Who cares if Newt can debate. This isn't high school. He's an immoral lowlife with a Tiffany account. What else do you need to know.

    November 16, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  72. Rick, Medina, OH

    Jack,

    His history of personal relationships won't be his undoing. He too often comes across as an 'academic snob' during the political discourse. Few politicians have been successful talking 'down' to people.

    Rick,
    Medina,OH

    November 16, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  73. Gigi Oregon

    After the Bush years and the religious right promising us a saviour, they now want us to switch wagons and follow the sinner. Whoa! My mother told me your sins will find you one day and you will have to reap what you sow. And sometimes it is too bad...

    November 16, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
  74. Jim, Concord,NC

    Significantly. I wouldn't trust this guy as far as I could throw him. He may the brightest of all the current candidates, but I'm not overly impressed with "smart" these days. A lot of those who created the financial fiasco whose ramifications we're experiencing were plenty intelligent. I'll take "good" over "smart" any day.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
  75. Mitoosense Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    The $1.5 million dollars consulting fee paid to Newt from Fannie Mae wil destroy his campaign. Why would we pay Fannie Mae executives $900 thousand a year plus million dollar bonus to hire Newt who makes $200 thousand as Speaker. This places Newt at ground zero of what's wrong in America. He doesn't pratice what he preaches and the choir is Oiligopoly 2big2fail

    November 16, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  76. Peter, Tarrytown, N.Y.

    "Gingrich says he expects questions about his three marriages and infidelity. But he insists he's happily married and has reconciled all this with God. "

    Has God reconciled with him?

    November 16, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  77. Jenny from Nanuet, New York

    It will prevent him from getting the nomination. Romney will be the Republican nominee by default.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  78. Dea from Fayetteville NC

    If he doesn't get sanctimonious about it, or go on and on about it, his personal baggage shouldn't be too much of an issue. He's got plenty of other problems with his personality and politics.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  79. Gman

    This character is a professional politcian with a lot of skeletons in his closet. Not a good idea for a country in so much trouble. That's all we need is another Washington insider, in bed with big business

    November 16, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  80. William

    Well doesn't the Republican party pride it self on being the party of marriage and Gingrich does not seem to be all that faithful of a spouse. But that's not the main issue with Gingrich, his biggest problem is that he is a Cold War Dinosaur and a wannabe Ronald Reagan.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  81. tillie

    The only running Newt and is baggage will do, is run right past the White House.
    Tillie
    Peoria, Il.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  82. Susan from Idaho

    It will affect him a lot. He practically lead the charge to impeach Clinton when he was doing the same thing. He's a loose zipper and we don't need him.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  83. donald

    His biggest baggage is that he is a professional politician and the poster boy for business as usual. The best thing we can do is not vote for anyboday who has served more than one term in D.C.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  84. HJ - Saint Paul, MN

    The Republican hero Ronald Reagan was a TV ACTOR. The most recent front-runner sells PIZZAS. This guy got divorced twice.... I'll take it.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  85. MaryM, Fremont, CA

    Newt is not trustworthy. period.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  86. Bill D.

    It's only baggage if the people don't know about it. Gingrich has every single skeleton out of his closet so unless something new comes out, it's not going to hurt him.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  87. Chuck Anschutz

    Less and less, then more and more. Less because the Republicans are desperate for a candidate that can just put two words together. That leaves Newt in the primary. But his baggage will rear its ugly head again in the general. You can thank squeeky clean, family values candidate Obama for that.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  88. s in fl

    I think the more accurate question is if he'll get to pop his head up for a full 15 mins at the GOP Whack-a-mole booth. One thing about the Newster. He seems like he would gladly run even knowing he was going to lose in a landslide. He'd get to hear the sound of his own voice a lot more and it would great for website hits. He could obviously care less about the American people.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
  89. John (Roswell, GA)

    Where do we draw the line here, when it comes to being infallible? With all the guilt out there pushed at us by those righteous, morality police (including the media), how long until we hear of a public figure running for office, chastized for being human? The world we live in today is so over-run with warnings and danger signs, trying to live becomes increasingly difficult. Viewer discretion advised to those speaking against the nanny state. Now I shall apologise for offending anyone with my remarks.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
  90. Max

    Jack, it seems to me that the twice elected President Clinton put to rest all concerns about infidelity and lapses of 'judgement'.

    Why is this an issue anymore? Or is it only when the person in question is a Republican?

    November 16, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
  91. Ted from Toronto

    The only baggage that will affect Newt is the bag that he used to haul the 1.6 million dollars he obtained from from Freddie Mac for consultancy services.......we all know what a great job they did. So if we are to utilize this as a yardstick to determine Newts suitability for the "consultant in chief position" its easy RUN....RUN as fast and as FAR away as you can from his campaign.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
  92. Janice Payne, Plainview, TX

    How many times have you applied for a job and been asked about the number of marriages in your background, or the number of xtra-marital affairs? Regardless of the position, it's never a part of the conversation and it shouldn't be now. The man is brilliant and has extensive experience in government. As much as we denounce Washington insiders, after 3+ years of Obama, I would think most of us realize the experience juggling Washington politics should be a mandatory requirement. I'm ready to hire him.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  93. Albert

    It shouldn't cause any problems at all, and neither should his name. You just know Cain can't do it, when John McCain was unsuccessful with 2 extra letters.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  94. Carl

    Jack- Newt's baggage will be an issue if the cable networks make it an issue.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  95. Kaphonius

    We'll have to ask Jerry Springer...

    November 16, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  96. NANCY Atlanta

    That old hypocrite... running around trying to impeach Clinton when he was doing the same thing!

    November 16, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  97. Aaron (Leonardtown, MD)

    In the past, Gingrich's baggage would have had a major effect on his campaign. But today, not so much. The members of the GOP have a 'forgive and forget' mentality. Whether it's Mitt Romney being a former liberal or Herman Cain having a troubled past, the party will do you no harm. Gingrich could have had 7 wives and a mistress, and they would still find room for him.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  98. Karen Ackerman

    It would matter to the Republicans if Newt was a Democrat. However, it won't matter to them since the Republican party is supported by hypocrites!!!!!

    November 16, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  99. NANCY Atlanta

    He ran around trying to impeach Clinton when he was doing the same thing. That did it for me!

    November 16, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  100. Semper fi

    I want the biggest baddest adulterating, cheating ,lying, dirtbag as President so he may understand fully how to deal with all his fellow peers and dirtbags. Send the meanest biggest Jackal in to fright with all the other jackals! Go Newt!

    November 16, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  101. MaryM, Fremont, CA

    Newt is not trustworthy, he will not get my vote. period

    November 16, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  102. Geoff in Toronto

    He won't win or get much further in the campaign anybody so why be concerned? While his marital problems and infidelity show poor judgment it won't matter to most people. What should matter is his past political experience as speaker and in general. If he knows what he is doing and can make strong decisions during global crises than he's a decent candidate for president. If so what he does in his personal life no matter how awful doesn't matter as long as he's not screwing the country up. We can't do any worse than George W. Bush regardless of where Newt ends up now can we?

    November 16, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  103. DJ - Houston

    If everyone was as impressed with Newt, as Newt is impressed with Newt, Newt wouldn't have an issue. But they aren't and he does...Newt needs to practice his conservative preaching a bit more before he puts himself on the pedestal where he thinks he belongs. God help us if Newt gets the nomination and I really mean God, just in case Newt's listening and thinks I'm referring to him.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  104. Tom

    Jack, Newt's "baggage" might hurt him a little with the religious right, holier-than-thou crowd, but to most voters it won't matter all that much. BUT–can you imagine if that baggage belonged to Obama? Three wives, a serial cheater. . . the entire conservative movement would be calling not only to defeat him, but for his impeachment! (Remember Bill Clinton?) Even the religious right will probably forgive Newt not because they want to, but because he's (another in the long list of ) anti-Obama.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  105. Scott Stodden

    Newt Gingrich Does Come With Not Just A Little Baggage But A Lot Of Baggage Because Let's Face It And Keep The Facts Real! This Is His Third Marriage And He's Had Affairs, Committed Adultry And Did Probably More Than The Public And The Media Know About But Let Me Also Say This! Newt Gingrich Is A Good Guy Who I Believe Has Learned His Lessons And I Believe He's Changed Into Wanting To Be A Better Person, He's Passionate About Running For President And He Tells You Straight Up How It Is. I Have All The Faith In The World That Newt Gingrich Could Be The Republican Nominee And The GOP Should Embrace Him And Accept That Everyone Makes Mistakes But Would He Be A Good Republican Leader? Absolutley! He's Not Afraid To Stand Up And Speak Out And That's What America Needs And Is Lacking Right Now!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport, Illinois)

    November 16, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  106. Gail, Plano TX.

    You know, Jack, sometimes I feel like I'm living in the Twilight Zone! To even consider a man of The Newt's caliber is utterly ridiculous! He had to resign as Speaker of the House! Has everyone forgotten this fact? He is a joke, but apparently the party of Christian values has feelings for him. Smart, you say? Jack, you are way smarter than he, however, when you make a statement like that, I wonder!

    November 16, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  107. Graham

    Honesty, not all. His base has a history of looking facts in the eye and not seeing them. Like when he was against President Clinton for his affair while he cheating on his own wife. Most would call this hypocrisy, they would say it's irrelivent. Poor Mitt Romney. He really is the Jan Brady of the bunch. He's probably the smartest and most competent of them but every few weeks, there's a new "Marsha, Marsha, Marsha" to steal the spotlight. Where's a football to the nose when you need one?

    November 16, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  108. Jim-Charlotte NC

    If the man who had to give up the House leadership becomes the President of the United States what does that say for the people of this country. Hopefully we are smarter than that.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  109. Jim R from Milwaukee

    While Newt has a better command of language and is certainly better informed than most of his opponents, you shouldn't equate glibness with intelligence or wisdom. On a professional level, Gingrich is the poster child for dysfunctional government. He has a historical record of "petty politics" and failure when it comes to serving The People. On a personal level, an examination of his history suggests he's a sociopath driven solely by his narcissism. I do enjoy the way he tweaks the press (except Fox news), but as a leader, he is a disaster!

    November 16, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  110. deborah ballweg Seibert, co

    I have 2 words for you JENNIFER FLOWERS. Apparently, it only matters if you are Republican. If you are democrat-all is well.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  111. MaryM, Fremont, CA

    He was forced to resign as Speaker of the House! Have the American people forgotten? He is immoral.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  112. Eric

    Newt seems to be the only poised candidate for the Republican nomination according to the arbitrary poll results. What America is forgetting however, are the eighty-four ethic charges filed against him when he was Speaker of the House. Add to that the "coup," headed by John Boehner, which the Republican controlled house gave Newt an ultimatum: resign, or be voted out by your own party. Neither happened. The question should be, if Newt is elected, will Congress and the President still be divided on the issues that are important to winning the future? Our government's back is hurting from congressional baggage. Gingrich's baggage will be the tipping point.

    Eric
    Warner Robins, GA

    November 16, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  113. Nadim in Indiana

    It probably wont matter because his chances are very low along with Herman Cain. They are just running for publicity and Cain doesnt know anything on international relations and he is a Hypocrite.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  114. marybeth, massachusetts

    Jack,

    I don't think his personal baggage will affect him at all. The GOP base, despite their whooping and hollering about the sanctity of marriage and claiming to be the party of traditional Christian values, will turn a blind eye, deaf ears, and dumb brain to Newt. All he has to do is proclaim that he born again, and they will forgive all and embrace him as their saviour, and will vote for him in droves.

    I'm old enough to remember Newt from the 1990's, his persecution of Clinton for the latter's affair with Monica Lewinsky (while carrying on an affair of his own), his "contract with America", his mean-spiritedness and hyper-partisanship helped to create the Congress we know today–disfunctional, greedy, self-serving, moralistic about everyone except themselves.

    Newt is a hypocrite. I don't like him or his policies, so I would never vote for him. But I think ultra right-wing Christians and tea party people will worship him because they love him, love his policies, and are as mean-spirited, greedy, self-serving and hypocritical as he is. It is a perfect match.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  115. Michael, from Smiths, Alabama

    I have to say this is a moot question. Every politician has 'excess baggage'.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  116. Randy

    It won't because newt is running for RELEVANCY not the presidency. If you're a pro corporate mouthpiece who has no relevancy, you go broke. On the other hand, if you're a norquist, Gingrich, frum, clinton type who the cameras clamor for the fat cat wallets fly open with a quickness. Whenever you see these ex congress crooks or think tank clowns on television, just know that a billionaire crook has them in their pockets.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  117. Cal

    Good Day to you Jack!

    I am so sick of these "bloated, talking heads" out of Washington! No Substance! No Morals! Newt is toast!

    November 16, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  118. andyz Lynn, MA

    I hope it destroys his candidacy. I remember his contract with America a.k.a. Newt's War on the Poor, Elderly and Ill.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  119. Tony from Southport

    If the media will bring up Obama's baggage at the same time they bring up Gingrich's baggage, it won't hurt him at all. I would love to see Obama and Gingrich debate. That would give the Republicans a landslide victory in 2012. Obama would look like a toy soldier fighting a marine.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:51 pm |