It’s he-said, she-said, of course but Newt’s marital history makes this all the more believable.
Of late, a lot of my conservative friends have been telling me that this sort of marital infidelity doesn’t matter. That it’s between a husband and a wife. There’s some truth in that, though I think loyalty and honesty are important considerations in any candidate. I feel that the sort of person who would betray their spouse is the sort of person who wouldn’t hesitate to betray other things. Like campaign promises.
If two consenting adults agree to have an open marriage I’m not one to judge. I don’t think it would be a good decision, it wouldn’t be something I’d want for myself, but if it’s a decision they make then c’est la vie.
Does this matter? Should voters care about this? I don’t think there’s any one valid way to evaluate a candidate. We all have different priorities. But this added to other things we know about Gingrich paints a very unflattering picture.
Gingrich wasn’t a candidate I’d support before this, but if I were one of his supporters I think this would have me dropping that support.
Update: Ed Morrissey questions the timing:
It is, however, supremely unfair of Marianne to dump this on the race now — not to Newt, but to voters who sincerely backed Gingrich. If Newt so lacked the “moral character” for the Presidency, why did it take Marianne eight months to tell us? Her relative silence in 2011 gave voters the impression that she had nothing to add to the debate over who should represent the GOP in the presidential race.
Of course this was timed to have maximum impact on Gingrich’s campaign, but it doesn’t change the veracity of the comments.