Quote Of The Day

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Mike Allen - Politico - Esquire Interviews Gingrich's Ex

ESQUIRE's September issue, “Newt Gingrich: The Indispensable Republican,” teased on the homepage as, “The Ex-Wife … The Money Trail … The Next President?” -- “In the twelve years since he resigned in defeat and disgrace, he has been carefully plotting his return to power. As 2012 approaches, he has raised as much money as all of his potential rivals combined and sits atop the polls for the Republican presidential nomination. But just who is Newton Leroy Gingrich, really? An epic and bizarre story of American power in an unsettled age,” by John H. Richardson: 

--Much of the piece is quotes from his second wife: “She was married to Newt Gingrich for eighteen years, all through his spectacular rise and fall, and here she is in a pair of blue jeans and a paisley shirt, with warm eyes and a big laugh and the kind of chain-smoking habit where the cigarettes burn right down to the filter … We're having breakfast in a seaside restaurant in a Florida beach town, a place where people line up in sandals and shorts. This is the first time she's talked about what happened, and she has a case of the nerves but also an air of liberation about her. Since he was a teenager, Newt Gingrich has never been without a wife, and his bond with Marianne Gingrich during the most pivotal part of his career made her the most important advisor to one of the most important figures of the late twentieth century. Of their relationship, she says, 'We started talking and we never quit until he asked me for a divorce.'” 

--The writer also interviewed Gingrich: “He's the first person you've ever met who speaks in bullet points. … The failure of the Republican leadership under George W. Bush created an opening for him, he says. Obama's 'radicalism' made that opening wider. Now a lot of Republicans are starting to ask, What Would Newt Do? Or, he puts it another way: 'The underlying thematics are beginning to be universalizable in a way that has taken years of work.' At minimum, he expects to be a "sort of a teacher/coach/mentor.' … He is known for his rhetorical napalm and is not accustomed to acknowledging that he often deploys it for its own sake, facts and gross exaggeration be damned. You don't build a movement by playing fair.” 

--As Speaker, he had “just one way to pay the [House Ethics Committee] fine -- he had to write another book. So the staff set aside blocks of time and he began sitting alone for hours, typing with one finger … After that, Gingrich started to deteriorate. … One day during the summer of '97, senior members of the Republican leadership tried to stage an intervention on the Speaker's balcony. Newt was late arriving, and his leadership met first with Marianne, pleading their case, asking that she help them reason with her husband. His temper was by then volcanic. Would she stay for the meeting? And then they opened the door and Gingrich was standing there. They told him a softer version of what they'd told her - that the dysfunction was causing a dangerous level of anger in the Congress and the country. The members actually left in a more cheerful mood - Gingrich was always good at letting people think he agreed with them, Marianne says. But from then on his behavior only got more erratic. … 

--"After getting rolled by Clinton on the government shutdown, Gingrich was convinced that Republican fortunes were dependent on his ability to at last deal with the White House. He worked hard to persuade reluctant hard-liners and eventually hammered out a compromise in exchange for tax cuts … 'Clinton and I used to talk like it was a graduate-school session,' he says. 'We both like books, we both like ideas, we both like exploring language and exploring concepts and trying to find solutions.'” http://bit.ly/cPG2M6 

--A Gingrich aide tells Playbook: “As of right now, I have no comment on the story.”