The myth and fact behind Newt Gingrich’s 1980 divorce

On Friday, Newt Gingrich’s phoenix of a presidential campaign unveiled a new area of its website dedicated to countering the areas of the former U.S. House speaker’s life – personal and professional – likely to become fodder for his rivals.

His criticism of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, one-time support for mandated health insurance, statements on climate change, the 1995 government shutdown, and his extramarital affair during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton are all topics.

Perhaps the oldest piece of unwanted luggage in Gingrich’s career has been the story of his conduct during the dissolution of his first marriage with Jackie Battley.

The campaign includes a link to a column written last May by Gingrich’s daughter, Jackie Gingrich Cushman:

It was the spring of 1980. I was 13 years old, and we were about to leave Fairfax, Va., and drive to Carrollton, Ga., for the summer. My parents told my sister and me that they were getting a divorce as our family of four sat around the kitchen table of our ranch home.

Soon afterward, my mom, sister and I got into our light-blue Chevrolet Impala and drove back to Carrollton.

Later that summer, Mom went to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta for surgery to remove a tumor. While she was there, Dad took my sister and me to see her.

Cushman states what didn’t happen, but – perhaps naturally enough — doesn’t say much about what did. The Washington Post this morning expounds on both the myth and the facts:

Most significantly, Battley wasn’t dying at the time of the hospital visit; she is alive today. Nor was the divorce discussion in the hospital “a surprise” to Battley, as many accounts have contended.

Battley, not Gingrich, had requested a divorce months earlier, according to Jackie Gingrich Cushman, the couple’s second daughter. Further, Gingrich did not serve his wife with divorce papers on the day of his visit (unlike a subpoena, divorce papers aren’t typically “served”).

And yet:

According to the first published account of the visit — a story by David Osborne in Mother Jones magazine in November 1984 — Gingrich went to Battley’s room with a yellow legal pad on which he had written a list of items related to the handling of the divorce.

Osborne attributed this anecdote to Lee Howell, Gingrich’s former press secretary, whom he quoted as saying, “He wanted her to sign [the list]. She was still recovering from surgery, still sort of out of it, and he comes in with a yellow sheet of paper, handwritten, and wants her to sign it.”

Here’s a link to that 1984 piece in Mother Jones.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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117 comments Add your comment

timbo

November 19th, 2011
10:23 am

Wow. Actual facts.

BRW

November 19th, 2011
10:33 am

The actual fact that Newt is still a philanderer. Correct. Still a three time loser. Correct.

Doug

November 19th, 2011
10:33 am

Whatever the details may be, there are the facts: Newt Gingrich, the great defender of marriage, is on his third one. Barack Obama, the monster from another planet intent on destroying life and America as we know it, is on his first marriage. End of story.

Independent voter

November 19th, 2011
10:35 am

Newt should be a shame for doing this to his wives. I wondering why he been marry 3 times and cheated on everyone of his wives.

Newt is not to be trusted.

Reasonably Sane

November 19th, 2011
10:36 am

I think Gingrich is our best family values candidate because he’s created more families than anyone else!

Independent voter

November 19th, 2011
10:36 am

Doug what does Obama got to do with Newt marriage.

le pelerin

November 19th, 2011
10:38 am

Guess I’ll go with the romantic Gingrich over the destoyer of American life, Obama.

honested

November 19th, 2011
10:43 am

Does this change anything?

No

As the bumper sticker on my car says, ‘Newt Gingrich, What A Pig’

letsfly

November 19th, 2011
10:43 am

Well don’t let the facts mess up a good story for the liberals.The liberals already have this story in their heads that its a true fact. They love telling that bs story every chance they get. I find Newt abrassive and never cared for him on a personal level but damn he knows what he’s talking about. I would love to see to see him debate Obama.

honested

November 19th, 2011
10:44 am

Reasonably Sane,

Wait, doesn’t santorum have about a dozen kids?

honested

November 19th, 2011
10:46 am

Can we address the fact that newt gingrich resigned as Speaker of the House in disgrace and is still the only Speaker in history to pay a FINE for ETHICS VIOLATIONS.
Nothing has changed since with the leopards spots.

Doug

November 19th, 2011
10:55 am

Independent Voter – Go Google Values Voters and do some research.

Pope UGA XXIII

November 19th, 2011
10:55 am

Whatever Newt might have done is of much less significance when you compare
it to how Obama is screwing us on a regular basis.
When a large number of our citizenry is concerned about the goings & comings
of children like Kim Kardashian, they will concentrate on “issues” like this instead
of being concerned about their future. Of course Bill Clinton who would never play
mattress ping pong with the ladies gets a pass.

Doug

November 19th, 2011
10:56 am

PS, And in case you did not know, Newt is campaigning for Obama’s job.

honested

November 19th, 2011
10:57 am

Precisely how is President Obama ’screwing’ Americans on a regular basis.

I do disagree with his extension of the shrub tax cuts, but in the face of an obstructionist, do nothing House, an occasional mistake can be allowed to slide.

Sick of Republicans

November 19th, 2011
11:12 am

Newt is still nothing more than a creep. He’ll keep this wifey number three as long as she still has her bleached blond hair and looks young then number four will be on the horizon. How long was number 3 his mistress before he finally filed for divorce from number two? Oh about six years wasn’t it? Who was getting the Tiffany baubles charged to a million dollars line of credit at Tiffany’s that was “hid” in number three’s name so number two didn’t find out about all the money he was spending on his lovely mistress? Now he has his arm candy; the Catholic church behind him; his millions he made from all his lobbying activities; and he thinks he is qualified to lead the nation. I wouldn’t even want him leading my dog and having the pond scum rub off on my dog. I wouldn’t even vote for him if he agreed to serve with NO pay for whatever amount of time he was in office. HE IS ABSOLUTE A TWO FACED LOW LIFE PIECE OF GARBAGE THAT WOULD SMELL UP THE WHITE HOUSE. AND NATHAN DEAL WOULD HAVE BEEN IN DEEP TROUBLE IF HE HADN’T GOTTEN THE H*** OUT OF WASHINGTON TOO. I DO NOT WANT MY GRANDCHILDREN LOOKING UP TO NEWT NOW OR EVER.

roughrider

November 19th, 2011
11:13 am

Newt is an immoral man and a known liar, but the republicans love their Pilsbury dough boy. I would love to see Newt debate one of his ex wives.

Kaphen DePriest

November 19th, 2011
11:14 am

I don’t trust Newt. Do You? I mean even if he is smart, can’t we find someone who is smart and isn’t ethically challenged? I am never going to vote for Obama, so there is no reason to compare him to Newt.

Our job is to compare Newt to the other Republican candidates. When thinking of ethics and trustworthiness, Newt just doesn’t make it.

You may not like everything Ron Paul says, but everyone knows he is trustworthy. With Ron Paul, you can have faith that he will do his best to accomplish what he says.

You want smaller government, right? You want less spending, right? You want less regulation, right?

It’s liberty time, baby! Constitution… Ron Paul

Cap Pistol

November 19th, 2011
11:22 am

the Salamander is a liar with a high-pitched voice. Not fit to pump out a septic tank.

Kaphen DePriest

November 19th, 2011
11:27 am

I don’t trust Newt. Do You?

I mean even if he is smart, can’t we find someone who is smart and isn’t ethically challenged?

Our job is to compare Newt to the other Republican candidates. When thinking of ethics and trustworthiness, Newt just doesn’t make it.

You may not like everything Ron Paul says, but everyone knows he is trustworthy. With Ron Paul, you can have faith that he will do his best to accomplish what he says.

You want smaller government, right? You want less spending, right? You want less regulation, right?

It’s liberty time, baby! Constitution… Ron Paul

dre

November 19th, 2011
11:31 am

Oh Great Doug! Thanks for enlightening us with your message. End of Story? Thank goodness no one else has to waste their time blogging. You, Oh Great one, have solved this dilemma for us! We are so glad too know the Great Doug prefers a clueless mooslim sympathizer who is married to someone who only recently became proud of her country, over an intelligent, problem-solving friend of Israel, freedom and the USA who has struggled through divorce.

Auntie Christ

November 19th, 2011
11:56 am

Since we are clearing up false accusations and assumptions, let’s consider Lizzie Borden. It is commonly reported that Lizzie Borden took an ax and gave her father forty whacks, afterwards, seeing what she had done, she gave her mother forty-one. First of all, she did not use an ax, it was a hatchet. Secondly, she killed her step mother, not her mother. And lastly, she only gave each of them one or two whacks, not dozens, as has been reported. So you see, Newt is much like Lizzie Borden, an up-standing citizen who has been victimized by the MSM and democrats. That is why whenever I see Newt, I compare him to Lizzie Borden, or even Al Capone, who was just your average American who got caught cheating on his taxes, yet he is subject to repeated rumors that he was some kind of murderous lout. Thankfully Newt you have friends like Galloway who can dispel the rumors of your scumbaggery.

Kati Milner

November 19th, 2011
12:08 pm

How I wish Newt gets the nomination. I want 4 more years of Obama. as a woman I will never vote for him and I know 80% of us will not

Monday Morning QB

November 19th, 2011
12:11 pm

This non Issue provides a great illustration of why this country is in irreversible decline. The Democrats think that Newt’s transgressions are horrible because he is the other side of the aisle but Clinton’s similar transgressions were a minor dalliance. And of course the Republicans have adhered to the same views they just reverse the roles. The Republicans defend George W. Bush who was clearly an ineffective President, while the Democrats still support Obama when he has been a spectacular failure. As Americans we have always had different views but we have never been so vitriolic toward our fellow citizens. I guess we better start teaching our children to speak Chinese so they can get a job 50 years from now.

another comment

November 19th, 2011
12:17 pm

Here is a Fact: While Newt was pressing the impeachment of President Clinton. I went to a conference in San Antonio where I ran into a college friend who worked for Patent and Trademark. He was there with his 20 something boss who was a GS-15 over Architects and Engineers. He could not figure out how she got this job, as she did not meet the required qualifications for this job.

We went out to dinner on the San Antonio Riverfront walk. After a couple of Margarita’s She says to me, so you live in Georgia, do you live in Newt’s District? I said no, I live just south of it. She say’s I am Calindra’s best friend since High School. I look at her like what. Then she blurts out his mistress. At this time it was not public knowledge about her. Even though I was shocked as can be, I just sat there smiling and said oh really.

Then when back at the hotel, I told my friend from college, that I figured out how his boss got her GS-15 that she was not qualified for at Patent and Trademark. Newt! When I told him about his boss being Newt’s mistress best friend he was shocked. Just a few months later it all came out in the press.

How many more people have jobs in DC they aren’t qualified for to cover up for Newt’s mistress?

DannyX

November 19th, 2011
12:19 pm

“The Democrats think that Newt’s transgressions are horrible because he is the other side of the aisle but Clinton’s similar transgressions were a minor dalliance.”

WRONG. Democrats a bringing up the fact that Republicans are big fat hypocrites when it comes to family values.

Newt Gingrich has been a lead player in the Republican family values crusade. First, Newt chastising Clinton for his extra marital affair while he himself was having an affair. Second, Newt claiming to be a defender of marriage while on his 3rd wife.

Its the hypocrisy stupid.

Monday Morning QB

November 19th, 2011
12:24 pm

@ DannyX

You are a perfect example of the problem. I pointed the fingers at the Republicans equally but you picked out the Democratic criticisms and ignored those of the Republicans.

Thank you for proving my point

Monday Morning QB

November 19th, 2011
12:25 pm

And you threw in some name calling as well

Perfect

liberalefty

November 19th, 2011
12:31 pm

ANOTHER family values hypocrite,lol. another pious santimonious ego driven ole fool who wants america to forget about his adultery.,

liberalefty

November 19th, 2011
12:32 pm

the repubs need to take family values lesson from OBAMA

JOHN

November 19th, 2011
12:39 pm

HE IS a _hore hopper for sure

DannyX

November 19th, 2011
12:41 pm

You still don’t get it, It’s the hypocrisy. It has nothing to do with Bush, why in the world would you bring up Bush in this discussion.

Democrats are arguing against the family values hypocrites, which Newt is one of. You made a claim and I countered it. You don’t get a pass just because you mentioned Bush.

Democrats are speaking out against the constant hypocrisy displayed by Republican “family values” politicians and their supporters.

Its the hypocrisy stupid.

Real Athens

November 19th, 2011
12:47 pm

Was the myth that Newt (or Clinton) balanced the budget arise here? Clinton left a budget surplus (that W. squandered), it’s not the same thing as balancing the budget.

Historically, the last time the U.S. had a balanced budget was 1968. Many will even argue (Wooten for one) that it wasn’t really balanced because several expenditures weren’t put on the books.

This is like W. not putting the costs of two wars in the budget. It doesn’t show how deep the hole is getting.

Real Athens

November 19th, 2011
12:52 pm

“Did the myth …” Geez.

victor

November 19th, 2011
12:54 pm

man that cheats on his wife can never be trusted

Not Newt

November 19th, 2011
1:08 pm

@Independent voter November 19th, 2011 10:36 am- – Doug what does Obama got to do with Newt marriage.

**************************************

KEEP OBAMA’S NAME OUT OF THIS SH*T! NO ONE HAS MENTIONED HIS NAME! OBAMA HAS A CLEANED MORAL RECORD. HE IS NOT A TWO TIMING, WOMANIZER LIKE YO BOY NEWT. THERE ARE NO SKELETONS LIKE THAT IN OBAMA’S CLOSET. IF THERE WERE THEY WOULD HAVE FALLEN OUT BY NOW!

DON’T TRY TO BLURR THE LINES OF RIGHT AND WRONG TO GET TO WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY!

DON’T GO THERE!

Not Newt

November 19th, 2011
1:14 pm

@le pelerin November 19th, 2011 10:38 am – Guess I’ll go with the romantic Gingrich over the destoyer of American life, Obama.

*************************

We don’t give a rats behind WHERE YOU GO! You can go to you know where as far as we are concerned with your no MORALS OR no ETHICS behind.

You “PEOPLE” can’t find any skeletons in Obama’s closet can you? IT IS KILLING YOU BECAUSE YOU DON’T HAVE ANYTHING like womanizing against Obama.

If you want to go with someone like Newt what does that say about you doing the same thing?

I bet you would. If you have a wife she should be VERY SACARED!

Not Newt

November 19th, 2011
1:17 pm

@honested

November 19th, 2011 10:46 am – Can we address the fact that newt gingrich resigned as Speaker of the House in disgrace and is still the only Speaker in history to pay a FINE for ETHICS VIOLATIONS. Nothing has changed since with the leopards spots.
*****************************

Newt’s supporters HAVE AMNESIA OR they are in the early stages of alzheimers or they are a bunch of UNETHICAL idiots and they are MORALLY STUPID!

Brian

November 19th, 2011
1:18 pm

Jackie Gingrich definitely has to love for Newt. I should know. I had her for geometry in high school. She was an awful teacher.

Donna P.

November 19th, 2011
1:20 pm

First it was Sarah Palin then Herman Cain, and now Newt Gingrich. The leftist media hates anyone who is the front runner of the Republican nomination. It’s not the Democrats nor the Republicans that will decide who is the President in 2012; it’s the Independents. What do they think of Newt, Herman, Mitt, and Obama? How high will unemployment and our national debt be in November of 2012?

Not Newt

November 19th, 2011
1:22 pm

@Pope UGA XXIII November 19th, 2011 10:55 am – Whatever Newt might have done is of much less significance when you compare it to how Obama is screwing us on a regular basis.

************************

“IF” Newt won the presidency get ready and BEND OVER! You think Obama is “screwing” you?
Newt got something for you..ASK HIS WIVES! They know about being screwed!

Joe Wilson

November 19th, 2011
1:24 pm

Newt Gingrich is still the meanest, nastiest man to ever be elected to Congress. The image that sticks in my head is all these women had sex with Gingrich, the unsexiest man alive! He’s certainly no Bradley Cooper. His next political move should be to quiet the Presidential race and be a reality show contestant on “The Biggest Loser” to drop quite a few pounds. America will never elect a President that looks like the Pillsbury Dough Boy.

Newt as President? Can you imagine the number of fat jokes told by David Letterman, Jay Leno, Jon Stewart, and the rest of the late night comedians.

Georgia Voter

November 19th, 2011
1:31 pm

It’s very interesting how Gingrich’s daughter and Matt Towery come to Newt’s rescue when they think he has a chance of securing the GOP nomination. Where were they months ago when he was at the bottom on the poll and his staff was jumping ship?

Not Newt

November 19th, 2011
1:57 pm

@Monday Morning QB November 19th, 2011 12:11 pm – The Republicans defend George W. Bush who was clearly an ineffective President, while the Democrats still support Obama when he has been a spectacular failure.
***************************************

You “people” gave George W. Bush “8″ years to screw this country. Yet, you want Obama to save you in less time. That is a very “racist” attitude in my opinion.

Give the white man (Bush) 8 years and give the black man (Obama) less.

GIVE ME…….A BREAK.

Alabama Communist

November 19th, 2011
2:08 pm

More Breaking News On Newt’s Yellow Legal Pad..A unknown source at the Hospital where Newt had presented his ex first wife with a list of things to do if she wanted out, said today ..” Not true! Newt told her it was a list of things he wanted done in his Reverse Neo-Con Republican America History Class and needed her approval since She was a Teacher of his at one time when he was 16 years old. She signed the list and than told him to get out of her life even if it meant leaving another Child behind”

misty09

November 19th, 2011
2:10 pm

Newt for president? Besides being a known liar and a cheat, we get his latest ho as first lady. I’ll pass.

td

November 19th, 2011
2:14 pm

Not Newt

November 19th, 2011
1:17 pm
@honested

November 19th, 2011 10:46 am – Can we address the fact that newt gingrich resigned as Speaker of the House in disgrace and is still the only Speaker in history to pay a FINE for ETHICS VIOLATIONS. Nothing has changed since with the leopards spots.
*****************************

Newt’s supporters HAVE AMNESIA OR they are in the early stages of alzheimers or they are a bunch of UNETHICAL idiots and they are MORALLY STUPID!

Everyone knows Obama snorted coke and did other drugs in College. Please do not act like he is pure as snow clean. Why has Obama spent $2 million on making sure nothing about his college see the light of day?

Truth-O-Meter

November 19th, 2011
2:21 pm

Please tell me that Newt supporters are not complaining about lies being told regarding his divorce from a sick wife. After all, these are the same people who believe that the president is not a US citizen, they believe that his birth certificate is inauthentic, they believe that he is the anti-Christ (the Bible says if one confesses to believe that Christ Lord, one is a Christian and will be saved), and believe that Osama Bin Laden is still alive, to name a few.
I have learned that people who hate the president will vote for a Republican no matter how well he or she lies. That is fine. I was sickened and insulted by Gingrich trying to convince people that he was not a lobbyist for Fannie Mae. Likewise, I can’t imagine anything the current president can do to turn my vote toward any Republican. Certainly not Newt Gingrich! They have no shame. It’s his hypocrisy that I find so distasteful.

save GA

November 19th, 2011
2:26 pm

poor newt gonna b front runner for a week soo much dirt on his fat a___ i wish he would get the nomination an xmas present for president obama if newt is so smart why was he a prof at west ga bottom of the barrel not only in ga but the usa i think larry the cable guy teaches their wow herman an newt somebody should dig up zell miller maybe he could run :) xxoxoxo

Lake Chao

November 19th, 2011
2:28 pm

For quite a while, I just feel that Newt is so familiar. Today,I finally realized why.

I grew up in communist China. I know what a typical communist behaves. During day, he will teach revolutionary ideas, and at night, he will pack and hide millions of RMB, bribery money, with his lover.

Congratulations, Newt. You are qualified to emigrate to China and become a model communist!

Too bad, Obama, maybe an European socialist, does not have the communist qualification.