Newt Gingrich, Emotional Toddler

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Aug. 10 2010 4:28 PM

Newt Gingrich, Emotional Toddler

/blogs/xx_factor/2010/08/10/newt_gingrichs_exwife_marianne_spills_in_an_esquire_profile/jcr:content/body/slate_image

The profile of Newt Gingrich in the September issue of Esquire is a doozy. Writer John H. Richardson got Gingrich's second wife, Marianne (he's now on his third), to spill all sorts of insights about the character of her ex-husband, and oh, are they juicy. The portrait that emerges of Gingrich is one of an emotional toddler, a person who even describes himself as a 4-year-old. "I wake up in the morning and I know that somewhere there's a cookie," Gingrich says. "I don't know where it is but I know it's mine and I have to go find it."

Advertisement

And indeed, Gingrich takes whatever he wants and is not mature enough to be honest about his transgressions. Former congressman Mickey Edwards tells Richardson, "I wouldn't be able to describe what his real principles are. I never felt that he had any sort of a real compass about what he believed except for the pursuit of power." But that's not even the most damning bit of the profile. That comes when Marianne talks about how Newt left her:

Marianne was having problems of her own. After going to the doctor for a mysterious tingling in her hand, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Early in May, she went out to Ohio for her mother's birthday. A day and a half went by and Newt didn't return her calls, which was strange. They always talked every day, often ten times a day, so she was frantic by the time he called to say he needed to talk to her.

"About what?"

He wanted to talk in person, he said.

"I said, 'No, we need to talk now.' "

He went quiet.

"There's somebody else, isn't there?"

She kind of guessed it, of course. Women usually do. But did she know the woman was in her apartment, eating off her plates, sleeping in her bed?

She called a minister they both trusted. He came over to the house the next day and worked with them the whole weekend, but Gingrich just kept saying she was a Jaguar and all he wanted was a Chevrolet. " 'I can't handle a Jaguar right now.' He said that many times. 'All I want is a Chevrolet.' "

He asked her to just tolerate the affair, an offer she refused.

He'd just returned from Erie, Pennsylvania, where he'd given a speech full of high sentiments about compassion and family values.

The next night, they sat talking out on their back patio in Georgia. She said, "How do you give that speech and do what you're doing?"

"It doesn't matter what I do," he answered. "People need to hear what I have to say. There's no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn't matter what I live."

Photograph of Newt Gingrich by Saul Loeb/AFP.

 

Jessica Grose is a frequent Slate contributor and the author of the novel Sad Desk Salad. Follow her on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again

The XX Factor

I’m 25. I Have $250.03.

My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I’m 25. I Have $250.03. My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.
Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Free Speech

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 3:13 PM Why Countries Make Human Rights Pledges They Have No Intention of Honoring
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 1:12 PM The Global Millionaires Club Is Booming and Losing Its Exclusivity
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger's New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 1:47 PM The Best Way to Fry an Egg
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 10:43 AM Social Networking Didn’t Start at Harvard It really began at a girls’ reform school.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.
Technology
Oct. 20 2014 11:36 PMForget Oculus RiftThis $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual-reality experience.
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 3:53 PMSmash and GrabWill competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?
Culturebox
Oct. 20 2014 3:22 PMNow Is the Time to InventThe legacy (and the return) of Sleater-Kinney, which was once the best rock band in America.