Skip to comments.Jackie Gingrich Cushman : Setting the Record Straight (about my dad's first marriage)
Posted on 05/14/2011 9:33:58 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
My father, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, has been in politics as long as I can remember.
And as long as I can remember, media coverage about him has contained misstatements of facts. The vast majority are simple mistakes that are easily corrected, understood and rewoven into an ongoing storyline.
But one of them seems to have taken on a life of its own, and simple corrections have not sufficed to set the record straight. Why does this happen? I can't be sure, but I suspect that the narrative created by these untruths proves to be so much more compelling and more dramatic than what actually happened that it proves irresistible.
I'm talking about the story of my father's visit to my mother while she was in the hospital in 1980.
For years, I have thought about trying to correct the untrue accounts of this hospital visit. After all, I was at the hospital with them, and saw and heard what happened. But I have always hesitated, as it was a private family matter and my mother is a very private person. In addition, for the four people involved, it was one of a million interactions and was not considered a defining event by any of us.
My mother and I have both recently run into quite a few people who hold an inaccurate understanding of this hospital visit. Many think my mother is dead.
So, to correct the record, here is what happened: My mother, Jackie Battley Gingrich, is very much alive, and often spends time with my family. I am lucky to have such a "Miracle Mom," as I titled her in a column this week.
As for my parents' divorce, I can remember when they told me.
It was the spring of 1980.
I was 13 years old, and we were about to leave Fairfax, Va., and drive to Carrollton, Ga., for the summer. My parents told my sister and me that they were getting a divorce as our family of four sat around the kitchen table of our ranch home. Soon afterward, my mom, sister and I got into our light-blue Chevrolet Impala and drove back to Carrollton.
Later that summer, Mom went to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta for surgery to remove a tumor. While she was there, Dad took my sister and me to see her.
It is this visit that has turned into the infamous hospital visit about which many untruths have been told. I won't repeat them. You can look them up online if you are interested in untruths. But here's what happened:
My mother and father were already in the process of getting a divorce, which she requested.
Dad took my sister and me to the hospital to see our mother.
She had undergone surgery the day before to remove a tumor.
The tumor was benign.
As with many divorces, it was hard and painful for all involved, but life continued.
As have many families, we have healed; we have moved on.
We are not a perfect family, but we are knit together through common bonds, commitment and love.
My mother and father are alive and well, and my sister and I are blessed to have a close relationship with them both.
My sister and I feel that it is time to move on, close the book on this event and focus on building a great future. We will not answer additional questions or make additional comments regarding this meaningless incident, which occurred more than three decades ago.
As I said, my mother is a private person. She will not give media interviews. She deserves respect and should be allowed to live in peace.
-- To find out more about Jackie Gingrich Cushman, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
It would have been better, Jackie, to have corrected this tale a long time ago. There have been a lot of ugly things printed about both of your parents. It was foolish to let this false story linger in the media for so long.
I just re-read what I posted and want to clarify that I DON’T think Seek and Find is actually Jackie Gingrich Cushman. I was merely using a literary embellishment to make a point. Apologies to anyone who thought differently.
Contract With America. The caving on that was the beginnning of the end for my support of anything GOP. Newt & Co fooled me once, but no more.
He lied about that, and allowed his personal reputation suffer to through how many marriages? I call SELF-SERVING BS on the part of the hyphenated Cushman-Gingrich offspring.
forget it, Newtie - he’s more done than my Mother’s Sunday Roast (overcooked, overexposed, overhyped and if your fork can get through it, it’ll make you sick if you can take a bite without losing a tooth)
I’ll take my chances with the Tea Party and leave the typical hypocrite wannabe to his fate - lobbyist and commentator on the public & private tit.
IOW - FU Newt.
PS...can’t wait til you come to IA next week. OUR TEA PARTY DOESN’T SWALLOW.
I'm not particularly a Newt fan, but am glad we can put this story to rest.
It could well be that the worst rumors about Newt's conduct are untrue. But what that leaves uncontested doesn't do Newt any credit either.
Newt's become the poster child for a certain kind of unadmirable behavior in politicians. Perhaps that's unfair, but is it wholly unwarranted?
In any case, the damage has been done, and Newt isn't going to be elected president. He ought to concentrate on what he can contribute in other ways.
So, who do you like. I’m a “plank holder” in the tea party movement. Was there in DC when we scared the crap out of the DC mafia.
This was posted sometime ago and it doesn’t change my opinion of Newt on bit. I won’t vote for him.
Daughter exposes anti-newtist calumny!
The writer says that the ex did not want to have any part of this, so it is unlikely that the ex would consent to a photo op
This does show how completely our perceptions of reality have been contorted and controlled by a leftist MSM that has been pushing progressivism for decades. I no longer think that simple solutions can cure their lies. We are only starting to win because we now have a little bit of new media to confound them.
so it was okay to divorce wife one, who he married as a kid and divorced later (when she was not dying of cancer).
But what about wife number two, who he also divorced when he started an affair with what turns out to be wife number three?
And how did he manage to become Catholic? Wasn’t he a baptized Baptist at the time of marriage one and two? (there are ways that an annulment for wife one could be justified on grounds of immaturity, but wife two?).
I, for one, never saw the story debunked— but then, I never repeated it, either.
I’m very glad it’s not true. But I’m not voting for Newt.
Well, since you asked, what I would like him to do is research an argument before announcing a position. There are people who ascribe much significance to his opinions. If his mind had nothing on scozzafava, his mouth should’ve moved in tandem with it. Why speak first and apologize later? Jackass - him, not you.
I agree, they have to be stripped of power until they learn to play by the rules of Truth and accuracy.
I agree. This story smells.
The myth about Newt "suddenly and unexpectedly" serving divorce papers to his first wife, Jackie Battley, who was supposedly "on her deathbed, dying of cancer" was created by sniveling liberal writer David Corn (of Mother Jones and other neo-communist publications), who was obsessed with derailing Newt's agenda when he became Speaker, the way most liberals were obsessed with Richard Nixon. He looks at everything through the prism of Newt, even when the story has nothing to do with him.
The story of "Newt's wife dying of cancer and served divorce papers on her deathbed" has been debunked long time ago, but has been repeated ad nauseam nonetheless, by liberals and the Republicans who saw Newt as a political competitor or didn't like his agenda, politics, or him personally. Demonizing opponents (particularly ideological conservatives) through the media is a calling and a tried and true modus operandi of political operatives. After bouncing in the media ether for a while, a myth or a perception becomes "reality." When both liberals and conservatives join forces in bashing a person or an industry (especially for factually incorrect or untrue "associative" reasons), it's a sight to behold.
But what about wife number two, who he also divorced when he started an affair with what turns out to be wife number three?
Newt was legally separated from his second wife, Marianne Ginther, before he became a Speaker. He spent most of his time in DC, while she stayed back home, and she sniped that she would do everything to stop him from becoming President. During this legal separation, and expecting eventual and quick divorce, he fell in love with and dated Callista Bisek. Divorce process was ugly and long, especially considering Newt was quite busy as a Speaker from 1995 through 1999, through Contract with America and Clinton's impeachment. In 1999 he resigned from Congress, moved to Virginia and married Callista Bisek in 2000, after divorce from Marianne was finalized.
See a hit piece on Gingrich - with Marianne Ginther - on the cover story of Esquire, 2010 September issue, by John H. Richardson:
Newt Gingrich: The Indispensable Republican
And how did he manage to become Catholic?
Callista Bisek has been Catholic. Newt converted to Catholicism only recently, in March 2009.
More info here:
Callista Bisek and Newt Gingrich Marriage Profile - By Sheri & Bob Stritof, About.com Guide
From Gingrich's Secret Weapon: Newt Inc. - WSJ, by Neil King Jr. and Patrick O'Connor, 2011 May 09
On any given day, the former Speaker of the House can be found on a chartered jet headed to Iowa to train future GOP candidates through his American Solutions group, or in Phoenix discussing ways to lower health-care costs with drug makers through his for-profit Center for Health Transformation. He might also be in Philadelphia, narrating a film produced by Gingrich Productions, or in Texas, reaching out to conservative Latino leaders through his bilingual news and commentary website, the Americano. Now, as Mr. Gingrich prepares to launch a run for president as early as this week, this network of advocacy and for-profit groups is providing a publicity and policy machine without parallel among his likely Republican rivals, few of whom have stirred excitement among donors and activists. His network has amassed more than 1.7 million voter and donor contacts and raised $32 million between 2009 and 2010 -- more than all his potential 2012 rivals combined. Far less clear is whether these efforts, and the extent of his organizational infrastructure, will be enough to put him out front, should Mr. Gingrich decide to seek the presidential nomination. ..... < snip >
In the 13 years since he suffered a string of political setbacks and quit the third most powerful job in Washington, Newt Gingrich has been busily laying the foundation for a comeback to an even grander perch.
On any given day, the former Speaker of the House can be found on a chartered jet headed to Iowa to train future GOP candidates through his American Solutions group, or in Phoenix discussing ways to lower health-care costs with drug makers through his for-profit Center for Health Transformation. He might also be in Philadelphia, narrating a film produced by Gingrich Productions, or in Texas, reaching out to conservative Latino leaders through his bilingual news and commentary website, the Americano.
Now, as Mr. Gingrich prepares to launch a run for president as early as this week, this network of advocacy and for-profit groups is providing a publicity and policy machine without parallel among his likely Republican rivals, few of whom have stirred excitement among donors and activists.
His network has amassed more than 1.7 million voter and donor contacts and raised $32 million between 2009 and 2010 -- more than all his potential 2012 rivals combined.
Far less clear is whether these efforts, and the extent of his organizational infrastructure, will be enough to put him out front, should Mr. Gingrich decide to seek the presidential nomination. ..... < snip >
A lengthy and interesting article on what Newt has been doing since leaving Congress. It's the kind of conservative answer to liberal / Alinsky's ideas and Cloward-Piven strategy of subversive "community organizing," that more conservatives should think about.
actually, I think Newt is one of the greatest teachers of conservatism.
I have no problem with his ideas: it’s his moral compass I worry about. He seems to be a bit easy about it (as was Bill Clinton, but with Clinton the press stayed quiet.)
In all relationships and marriages it takes two to tango, and the person you have married to may and does, change... and often, not for the better.
There is a great deal of difference between things not working out in marriage(s) (Gingrich, Reagan) and craven skirt-chasing while being “faithfully” married (Clinton)...
Just as an aside, (not implying a cause and effect) but historically, in the last fifty years the only President who can be considered great / near-great / outstanding was also the only one who has been married more than once - Ronald Reagan.
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