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.
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.
One divorce can occur, especially in a very young person who marries.
But what’s the excuse for cheating on his second wife?
Thank you for posting this.
Why would it be necessary to get a divorce from a dying person? Just wait until they die and no problem.
Actually, the source of this story was a Democrat opponent in the distant past. “Conservatives” have been using this talking point forever...it’s always been a lie.
I completely agree. He will not be my choice in the primaries, but I will get on board if he wins.
I get so tired of people saying that they will never support this person or that person. It was said thousands of times about McCain. However, when the time came between Obama and McCain, everyone held their nose and voted for McCain. People will do the same thing this time.
She is not dead. She is alive and well as far as I know.
I can't believe that Newt wouldn't be a better choice for Freepers if he's the nominee. Newt isn't perfect, but who is if you've been in politics your whole life. We make fun of people with Bush derangement syndrome and then show the same disease with Newt. I seem to remember Reagan trading arms for hostages, and packing up and leaving Lebanon after the Marines were massacred. He fell for the old raise taxes and we'll cut spending rouse. I'm sure there are many more flaws in Reagan's history that we wish never happened, yet he is revered, and rightly so. If you ponder each candidate one by one, Newt is the brightest bulb in the room. He will hit the ground running day one of his presidency. Even Romney, Perry or any of the others will have to figure out what to do for the first year or so. Newt has been there, done that. He thinks of things no one else even mentions. Like replacing judges he doesn't like. I guess he was supposed to bitch slap Pelosi rather than have his picture taken on a couch. It would have been nice if Guliani wouldn't have posed for pictures in a tutu in a parade, but what are you gonna do?
I guarantee they all have scabs and warts, but Newt has already balanced the budget before and has one of the best records in history for jobs and prosperity. If I get the chance to vote for Newt, I will gladly pull the lever. If not I will vote for Cain. If Cain isn't available, then what you people are saying is I must vote for Romney even if he is the author of Obama care and he has been for abortion and gay marriage. What scabs and warts am I supposed to overlook then? Perry is an empty suit,( and I can legally say that because I have lived in Texas for 60 years and under Perry for to long of that time), then we have Paul,........If I have to vote Obama or Paul, that will be a tough one. I guess I will vote Paul and then start a bomb shelter company. If Freepers are looking for "clean", maybe Santorum, because Bachmann seems to have donor connection problem in some of her votes. What do we know about Santorum? Has he had the Freeper proctoscope yet? Oh yeah, he's at 1%.
Of course he is the only candidate capable of articulating the conservative message and handling marxist idiots in congress and the media with ease.
Apparently the Goebbels like propaganda pushed by scumbag communists like Corn has been effective.
Newts sins pale in comparison to his strengths when matched up against the other candidates (so he sat next to Pelosi, big deal), yet he is at only 10%.
It's hilarious to watch the imbeciles he shares the debate stage with mouths hang open in awe as he responds to the moderators retarded questions.
Never underestimate the power of the communist press, they after all have got the right in this country calling themselves RED.
Newt scares them speechless.
Bumping back up because I hadn’t seen this and given what’s going on, it’s important.
Thanks, uh, oh-oh, I can’t remember now, uh, okay, it was neverdem, thanks neverdem for this link to this May 15, 2011 post/topic. Thanks CutePuppy for #55.
My mother and father were already in the process of getting a divorce, which she requested.
Old thread bump.