Newt Gingrich says he's not a hypocrite because his own marital indiscretions instructed him on impeaching Bill Clinton
On Sunday mornings I usually wake up by turning on the plethora of talk shows. But watching Fox News Sunday yesterday quickly shook the cobwebs out of my brain. It obviously pains Chris Wallace to bring up Newt Gingrich's personal life because he's a leading voice of conservative hypocrites and a fixture on Fox News, (who doesn't work for Fox News that's involved in election 2012?) but he knows he must, so he does it even if it feels like he's getting a tooth pulled with no anesthesia.
WALLACE: I want to talk about your personal life. I hate doing it. But you know it's going to be an issue in the campaign.
WALLACE: So, I'm going to go there. You were asked recently about the fact that you cheated on your first and your second wives. And here's how you responded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GINGRICH: There is no question that at times in my life partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard, and that things happened in my life that were not appropriate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Speaker, you've had more than a decade to come up with an answer. And in all honesty, there were a lot of people who thought that answer was kind of lame. I know it's heart-felt. But let me explain why. You love your country and you're working hard. And so you strayed. That wouldn't work with my wife.
GINGRICH: No, it didn't work in my life. I went on to say that I had to seek God's forgiveness and I had to seek reconciliation and I had to believe that being genuinely repentant mattered. As you know, first, I have a great marriage.
Gingrich explains away being a serial cheater on wives who were also very ill: it's because he loves his country so much! Wallace sees how heartfelt his response was, but reacted to it like someone who is married: That wouldn't work with my wife.
Newt has been on a monumental crazy-train roll of insane logic lately to justify his previous wretched behavior because he wants to be president now. That's one of the reasons why he's been playing the God card (he has God's forgiveness, y'see) so much. But his response to his role in Bill Clinton 's impeachment may have even surpassed some of Michelle Bachmann's mindless brain activity. And to Jennifer Rubin from the Washington Post I say that without a hint of sexism.
WALLACE: There's something else that bothers people. You were leading the charge to push Bill Clinton from office for lying about an affair and yes, he lied in a court proceeding, in a deposition, where he was sworn to tell the truth, the whole truth, but nothing but the truth. At the same time, you were leading that charge, you were having an affair. Isn't that hypocrisy?
GINGRICH: No. Look, obviously, it's complex and, obviously, I wasn't doing things to be proud of. On the other hand, what I said, very clearly -- I knew this in part going through a divorce -- I had been in depositions. I had been in situations where you had to swear to tell the truth.
I understood that in a federal court, in a case in front of a federal judge, to commit a felony, which is what he did, perjury was a felony. The question I raise was very simple: should a president of the United States be above the law? I don't think the president of the United States can be above the law.
And it's not about personal behavior. It's about whether -- it's not about what he did in the Oval Office. You can condemn that. You can say it's totally inappropriate.
But it was about a much deeper and more profound thing, which is: does the president of the United States have to obey law? Or as long as he's popular or she is popular, can they flout the law and become a third world country where the leader gets to get away with anything they want to, but you and I obey the law?
I thought the notion -- I mean, I don't know what you would have had me do because I think the notion that the president of the United States committing perjury -- remember, he is a lawyer. This is not some accidental thing. And I thought the outcome was about right. The House indicted - in effect indicted him. That's what impeachment is.
He's using his own twisted behavior with his previous marital relationships to justify why he felt he wasn't being a hypocrite to Bill Clinton. You can't make this up.
WALLACE: But I'm just going to ask you man-to-man. Did you ever think to yourself "I'm living in a really glass house"? GINGRICH: Yes.
WALLACE: Maybe I shouldn't be throwing stones?
GINGRICH: No. I thought to myself if I cannot do what I have to do as a public leader, I would have resigned. Now, look, I think you have to look at whether or not people have to be perfect in order to be leaders. I don't think I'm perfect. I admitted I had problems. I admitted that I sought forgiveness. But I also think over time, if you look at my total record, I'm a pretty effective leader. I fight for this country and I fight for the changes we need with tenacity and I take a fairly tough beating, including from you and others, in order to stand in the arena and stand up for what I believe is really important.
And I think this country is worth that kind of a fight. And we'll find out six months or a year from now whether people are forgiving and whether we put in context events that are 15 and 10 years old. We'll see.
WALLACE: Thank you for being so forthright in answering that.
See, Wallace found an out. He turned Gingrich's hypocrisy into just Newt being "forthright' instead of a lying liar. Now that's called pulling a Houdini.
(h/t Heather for making the video from Video Cafe)
I know other blogs wrote about this yesterday like Think Progress: Gingrich: My Infidelities Helped Me Understand How To Impeach Clinton, Little Green Footballs, and Liberaland and many more. We don't always rush to get a story up first.