Feb 24, 2004
Axis of Logic
Finally, for the cable television assault, the obvious go-to-guy is former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. The leader of the Republican revolution that captured the House of Representatives in 1994, Gingrich has the proven political skills to move a constitutional amendment to ratification. Already a Fox News regular, Gingrich has years of practice in the kinds of rhetoric that is crucial to win this battlefront in the larger cultural war. After he married his first wife Jackie Battley to avoid service Vietnam, Newt enlisting Jackie to write a letter attacking his opponent for planning to leave her family in the district: ''When elected, Newt will keep his family together,'' declared one campaign ad.
Gingrich ended his 19-year marriage shortly after his victory, visiting Jackie in the hospital where she was recovering from surgery for uterine cancer to discuss details of the divorce. He then failed to pay alimony and child support for his two daughters, causing a church to take up a collection, and then left the congregation in response to the pastor's criticism of his divorce. Gingrich then married Marianne Ginther. He called her ''the woman I love'' and ''my best friend and closest adviser'' in his first speech as House speaker, in January 1995.
At the time, Newt was having an affair with wife number three, Castilla Bisek. In his political testament, Newt criticized sex outside of marriage, promoted traditional family life and opined that ''any male who doesn't support his children is a bum.'' In May 1999, eight months after she told him she had a neurological condition that could lead to multiple sclerosis, Gingrich called Marianne at her mother's home. After wishing the 84-year-old matriarch happy birthday, he told Marianne that he wanted a divorce. Newt then wed Callista Bisek, the ex-congressional aide 20 years his junior with whom he had an affair while still married to Marianne.
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