Newt Gingrich represented a Georgia congressional district from 1979 to 1999 and served as Speaker of the House from 1995-99. After leaving Congress he founded and chaired several policy think tanks before becoming a presidential candidate in 2011.
Gingrich has a Ph.D. in modern European history and taught history and geography at the University of West Georgia in the 1970s. Denied tenure, he left in 1978. He has written or co-authored 27 books. Gingrich has been married three times.
“I have an enormous personal ambition,” he told The Washington Post in 1985. “I want to shift the entire planet. And I’m doing it.” In 1988, Gingrich and others brought ethics charges against Democratic Speaker of the House Jim Wright. Wright’s resignation helped raise Gingrich’s status in the Republican caucus. He became House Minority Whip the following year.
In 1990, the GOP Action Committee (GOPAC) distributed a memo with a cover letter signed by Gingrich titled “Language, a Key Mechanism of Control,” that encouraged Republicans to “speak like Newt” and contained lists of contrasting words – words with negative connotations such as “radical,” “sick,” and “traitors” to describe Democrats, and “optimistic positive governing word” such as “opportunity,” “courage,” and “principled,” for describing Republicans. Other Republican candidates have adopted these tactics in the 2012 Republican primaries.
Gingrich is the architect of the “Contract with America” that led the Republican Party to victory in 1994 by capturing the majority in the U.S. House for the first time in forty years. It listed ten policies such as welfare reform, term limits, tougher crime laws, and a balanced budget law, that Republicans promised to bring to a vote on the House floor during the first 100 days of the new Congress. All ten issues were brought up during the first 100 days but the legislation was held up in the Senate.
Gingrich is one of his party’s most polarizing figures. His confrontation with President Clinton over the budget led to a government shutdown in 1995 and 1996. Ethics battles led to his resignation as speaker in 1998. Gingrich also acknowledged having an extramarital affair with Callista Bisek, then a House staff member and now his wife, while leading impeachment proceedings against Clinton for lying about his own sexual transgressions.
Following an ethics charge against him in 1997, Gingrich was officially reprimanded by the House, the first time a Speaker was so disciplined. He resigned as Speaker in 1998 following Republican losses in the House.
After ten years out of public office, Gingrich remains one of the Republican Party’s most visible and prolific idea men and arguably the most influential former congressman in history.
In 2003, Gingrich founded the Center for Health Transformation to develop free market healthcare reform that is centered on the individual. He favors repeal of 2010 health-care bill and supports state lawsuits against requiring all citizens to carry health insurance. He says that people are responsible for their own health care and that states should design a system that works for their citizens.
During the 2012 presidential campaign, Gingrich was a favorite of the Tea Party. He supports deep federal spending cuts in exchange for raising debt ceiling, no tax increases in 2013, a zero capital-gains tax rate, and the end of the estate tax. He has argued that any form of tax increase, short of closing loopholes for special interests, would hinder economic growth during an already sluggish recovery.
Gingrich advocates shrinking the Department of Education and has proposed financial incentives for students to explore advanced math and science classes, and jobs within schools. “Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and nobody around them who works. So they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash’, unless it's illegal.”
Gingrich has been critical of President Obama’s strategy in Afghanistan and indicated that he would be willing to have U.S. forces stay longer and fight more aggressively in the war-torn country.
Gingrich favors increasing security along part of the Mexican border by dispatching drones and moving as many as 23,000 homeland security workers to border states. He sparked controversy by proposing a path to legal status for some illegal immigrants.
He supports some legal rights for homosexuals, but not gay marriage or adoptions by gay couples, but said he prefers not to be “judgmental about others.”
“The American people believe English should be the official language of the government. . . . We should replace bilingual education with immersion in English so people learn the common language of the country and they learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto.”
“Nazis don't have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust Museum in Washington. We would never accept the Japanese putting up a site next to Pearl Harbor. There's no reason for us to accept a mosque next to the World Trade Center.”
(Gingrich compares Islamic center to Nazis erecting a sign near Holocaust Museum and to a Japanese site near Pearl Harbor on the August 16 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends – Source)
“How can you have the mess we have in New Orleans, and not have had deep investigations of the federal government, the state government, the city government, and the failure of citizenship in the Ninth Ward, where 22,000 people were so uneducated and so unprepared, they literally couldn't get out of the way of a hurricane.”
(Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference – Source)
A front-runner in Bill Clinton's impeachment — due to sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky and a sexual harassment lawsuit from Paula Jones — former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is no stranger to infidelity.
- In an interview he admitted to cheating on former wife Marianne Ginther while leading the Clinton impeachment process. (Source)
- In a 1995 Vanity Fair article, Gingrich's campaign treasurer from 1974-1978 Kip Curtis claimed “We'd have won in 1974 if we could have kept him out of the office, screwing her on the desk.” This quote referenced an alleged affair with a volunteer. (Source)
- In a January 2012 interview with ABC, Gingrich's ex-wife Marianne Ginther said the politician sought an open marriage so he could carry on an affair with congressional aide Callista Bisek, who is now married to Gingrich. (Source)
However, Gingrich said his affair should not be compared to Clinton's, as Clinton was at fault because he committed perjury.
“The idea that a congressman would be tainted by accepting money from private industry or private sources is essentially a socialist argument.”
(D. B. (October 1989), "The Real Ethics Debate", Mother Jones: 31, ISSN 0362-8841 – Source)
“Look, I think there is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us, is prepared to use violence, to use harassment. I think it is prepared to use the government if it can get control of it. I think that it is a very dangerous threat to anybody who believes in traditional religion. And I think if you believe in historic Christianity, you have to confront the fact.”
(The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News, 15 November 2008 – Source)
“I have two grandchildren: Maggie is 11; Robert is 9. I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they're my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.”
(2011-03-27, quoted in Marr, Kendra, "Newt Gingrich talks faith — not affairs — at Cornerstone Church in Texas", Politico, retrieved on 2011-03-30 – Source)
“Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and nobody around them who works. So they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash’, unless it's illegal.”
(Iowa fundraiser dinner, quoted in West, Paul [1 December 2011)], "Newt Gingrich expands on his support for child labor", Los Angeles Times – Source)
“We have to frankly break the back of the secular-socialist machine, elect people committed to representing the American people, and then methodically rip the system apart.”
(The Mark Levin Show, ABC Radio Networks, 24 June 2010, Media Matters for America, 25 May 2010, retrieved on 2011-03-30 – Source)
“The goal that the Obama team has is to fundamentally replace the historic America of self-reliance, independence, the work ethic, the people who go out and achieve because they spend their lifetime doing the right things. And they want to replace it with a politician-dominated redistributionist bureaucracy. Which in the essence would mean the end of America as it has been for the last 400 years.”
(May 17, 2010, The Glenn Beck Program, Premiere Radio Networks – Source)
On Obama: “This is a person who is fundamentally out of touch with how the world works, who happened to have played a wonderful con, as a result of which he is now president. I think he worked very hard at being a person who is normal, reasonable, moderate, bipartisan, transparent, accommodating — none of which was true. In the Alinksy tradition, he was being the person he needed to be in order to achieve the position he needed to achieve.... He was authentically dishonest.... I think Obama gets up every morning with a worldview that is fundamentally wrong about reality. If you look at the continuous denial of reality, there has got to be a point where someone stands up and says that this is just factually insane.”
(Sept. 11, 2010, Robert Costa, "Gingrich: Obama’s ‘Kenyan, anti-colonial’ worldview", National Review – Source)
As Gingrich laid it out to Newsweek, “‘You take brain science, you take personal and Social Security savings, you take offering the poor the opportunity to work and have a paycheck instead of food stamps, you take Lean Six Sigma’ — a management-efficiency doctrine, his latest fascination — ‘and suddenly you have a Gestalt that is in many ways conservative, but in many ways very moderate.’”
“You have a Gestalt”? Would Rick Perry have a Gestalt? Or Herman Cain? Romney might, but the consultants would have advised against mentioning it after it tested badly with the focus group. Bush was never in danger of having a Gestalt, nor Dole.
(December 19, 2011, “The Gingrich Gestalt,” from the Dec. 31, 2011, issue of National Review, by Mark Steyn –Source)
“I have an enormous personal ambition,” he told The Washington Post in 1985. “I want to shift the entire planet. And I’m doing it.”
“The essence of Newt,” Mr. Gregorsky [Gingrich’s former chief of staff] said, “is that he’s a marketing genius. He’s not a philosopher or an ideologue.”
(December 20, 2011, “For Gingrich in Power, Pragmatism, Not Purity,” by Sheryl Gay Stolberg, New York Times –Source)
As President, he’d get a global treaty, and make the U.N. agree: “With your help, if you get a chance to go to Newt.org, I would like to have your support to then lead an effort across the planet to ensure that the right to bear arms becomes permanent and is a human right everywhere which will guarantee its safety in America.”
(April 13, 2012, Amy Davidson, “Newt Gingrich, Global Prophet of Guns,” The New Yorker – Source)
Newt and his Alaska-based patron [Palin]—for that is now her primary role—have just learned a lesson that many Democratic candidates have learned since 1968, when Richard Nixon put together the first recognizably modern Presidential campaign: never underestimate the ruthlessness of the G.O.P. electoral machine.
From the outside, the Republican Party often seems like a fatally conflicted organization, an accident waiting to happen. How can a Party élite that is inextricably tied to wealthy, corporate interests co-exist with, and largely direct, a popular protest movement of the economically squeezed middle class? There are various theories, one of which is that the Party leadership cleverly exploits conservative cultural values to persuade the boobs to vote against their own interests. However they do it, the Lee Atwaters and the Karl Roves manage to keep things together. And when the Presidential campaign season begins, they run over everything in their way, including, if necessary, members of their own party.
(Jan. 31, 2012, John Cassidy, “Newt’s Going Down so the G.O.P. Establishment Can Live” – Source)