Gingrich wanted wife and mistress, second wife tells ABC News
Tonight on Nightline, ABC News will air an interview with Marianne Gingrich, the second of Newt Gingrich’s three wives.
Some of what comes out is not new. But in this interview, Marianne says Gingrich wanted an "open marriage," so he could have both a wife and a mistress.
We already knew that he's on his third marriage, that he was accused of not only affairs in the first two, but also that he left one wife while she was fighting cancer, and he left another just after she was diagnosed with MS.
But so far, Gingrich has done fairly well with voters in separating politics and his personal life. It remains to be seen how this interview, just 48 hours before the voting in South Carolina, will affect the outcome of that race and the Republican race in other states.
For the first time since their divorce, Marianne Gingrich, is speaking on camera.
Newt Gingrich's second wife claims he asked her for an open marriage.
Newt Gingrich has admitted he and his second wife are not friends. She had said in the past she could end his career with just one interview.
What she's now telling ABC News may not end his career, but it certainly doesn't help.
She gives ABC a rather scathing account of how their marriage ended.
“I said to him, ‘we've been married a long time,’ and he said ‘yes, but you want me all to yourself.’
And I just stared at him.
“‘And Callista doesn't care what I do.’”
“What was he saying, do you think?” asks Brian Ross of ABC.
“Oh, he was asking to have an open marriage, and I refused."
Before their divorce, and while Newt Gingrich was allegedly carrying on a six-year affair, his second wife, Marianne now describes the "shock" she experienced at his behavior.
Marianne says Gingrich wanted her to accept the fact that he had someone else in his life.
“And you said?”
“No, no....that's not a marriage," she says.
All of this, she claims, at the same he was chastising President Clinton, for his affair with Monica Lewinsky.
ABC7’s Scott Thuman asked Brian Ross if lingering anger and seeing him preach family values today, was the reason she came forward.
"I think she's still angry about what happened,” Ross says. “Here's a man who she says would call her when he was travelling from their apartment across the street from the Capitol and tell her how much he loved her and then later admitted that Callista was in bed next to him when he made those phone calls. And she's very angry about the betrayal."
The alleged request for an open marriage may be hard to ignore for many South Carolina voters where religion and family play a huge role. And it’s not setting well in the D.C. area.
"You know, he's open to all this nonsense. Do you want that person to be your president?" asks May Akpibao, of Northeast.
“I don't care about his personal life. I want to know what policies he's going to enact to move the country forward and if we can't spend our time talking about that then I don't care," says Nick Warden of Falls Church.
"I think it is important to know about things like that. I think it does make a difference potentially in how someone would act in public office," says Rebecca Bittner of McLean.
Gingrich, riding high from improving poll numbers and the endorsement of Rick Perry wouldn't comment directly on the accusations.
"Look, look, I'm not going to say anything about Marianne,” Gingrich says. “My two daughters have already written to ABC complaining that it's tawdry and inappropriate….I'm not getting involved."
And there are reports of an internal fight at ABC about airing this so close to an election night.
Brian Ross said there’s a policy about not dropping a big bombshell within 24 hours of an election.
And the timing of the interview itself is coming under fire by some Republicans -- and Gingrich himself.
Callista, his current wife, stood by Gingrich today as he refused to directly answer the accusations that include Gingrich calling Marianne while Callista was in bed next to him.