Newt Gingrich’s ex-wife, Marianne, says she has enough material to end the Republican presidential candidate’s career with one interview. Or at least so blared the Drudge Report Wednesday evening.
Marianne Gingrich recently spoke to ABC News reporter Brian Ross for two hours about her tumultuous relationship with Newt Gingrich. There’s no clear word yet on the specific details she recounted. But The Daily Beast’s Howard Kurtz reports that Marianne didn’t reveal anything in the interview that she hasn’t already said, especially in an August 2010 interview with Esquire. ABC has announced it will air the interview at 11:35 PM eastern Thursday evening.
In typical Drudge fashion, the storied Internet columnist painted a florid picture of back-room controversy and infighting. According to Drudge, ABC was in the midst of an internal “civil war” over when to air the footage. With the South Carolina primary only days away, he reported, network heads said it would be “unethical” to run the interview so close to the election. Drudge also reports Newt Gingrich canceled a press event Wednesday to address the upcoming interview. There was no independent reporting to confirm these claims.
It’s worth recalling that Marianne dished to Esquire in August 2010 about her ex-husband’s money woes, philandering and meltdown after the collapse of his career in the late 1990s. In short: for a TV interview, she would have a lot of material to work with.
Also worth noting: Mitt Romney’s campaign enjoys largely positive coverage on the Drudge Report.
Asked for comment on the emerging story, Gingrich’s press secretary, RC Hammond, forwarded this message from Gingrich’s daughters, Kathy Lubbers and Jackie Cushman, addressed to ABC News:
The failure of a marriage is a terrible and emotional experience for everyone involved. Anyone who has had that experience understands it is a personal tragedy filled with regrets, and sometimes differing memories of events.
We will not say anything negative about our father’s ex-wife. He has said before, privately and publicly, that he regrets any pain he may have caused in the past to people he loves.
ABC News or other campaigns may want to talk about the past, just days before an important primary election. But Newt is going to talk to the people of South Carolina about the future- about job creation, lower taxes, and about who can defeat Barack Obama by providing the sharpest contrast to his damaging, extreme liberalism. We are confident this is the conversation the people of South Carolina are interested in having.
Our father is running for President because of his grandchildren - so they can inherit the America he loves. To do that, President Obama must be defeated. And as the only candidate in the race, including Obama, who has actually helped balance the national budget, create jobs, reform welfare, and cut taxes and spending, Newt felt compelled to run - to serve his country and safeguard his grandchildren’s future.
[Ed note: This post has been revised to reflect new information about the scheduled airing of the Gingrich interview.]
David Taintor is TPM’s News Editor. He contributes to TPM’s Livewire coverage, among other areas. David is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, where, yes, it gets very cold. Reach him at taintor [at] talkingpointsmemo.com