Newt Gingrich’s two daughters issued a letter to ABC executives in response to reports that the network would be airing an interview with the candidate’s second ex-wife days before Saturday's South Carolina primary.
The Twittersphere lit up Wednesday evening as word spread, first on the Drudge Report, that the TV network had conducted a two-hour interview with Marianne Gingrich, though it remains unclear what she says about the former House speaker, now that he's running for president.
The Associated Press cited an ABC spokesman as saying the network would release excerpts of the interview Thursday to promote the full report Thursday night on "Nightline."
“ABC News or other campaigns may want to talk about the past, just days before an important primary election,” Kathy Lubbers and Jackie Cushman wrote in their letter to the network, released to members of the news media. “But Newt is going to talk to the people of South Carolina about the future– about job creation, lower taxes, and about who can defeat Barack Obama by providing the sharpest contrast to his damaging, extreme liberalism. We are confident this is the conversation the people of South Carolina are interested in having.”
Lubbers and Cushmann, daughters from Gingrich's first marriage, called the failure of a marriage “a terrible and emotional experience for everyone involved” and said that anyone who has undergone it understands “it is a personal tragedy filled with regrets, and sometimes differing memories of events.”
The letter did not request that ABC reconsider the airing or timing of the interview, which comes just as the candidate is experiencing a last-minute uptick in South Carolina polls. The Associated Press reports the interview will air Thursday night.
Lubbers and Cushman often join their father on the campaign trail, as have his grandchildren and sisters in recent weeks. They have defended their father as a family man who has since sought forgiveness. His third wife, Callista, often stands at Gingrich’s side during his speeches.
If aired, it’s unclear how revealing the interview would be. Marianne Gingrich’s account of her husband’s infidelity was detailed in an interview with Esquire Magazine in 2010, in which she had scathing words for her former husband, who conducted an extramarital affair with then-congressional aide Callista Bisek during Bill Clinton’s impeachment proceedings.
In that account, Marianne said Gingrich proposed to Callista before he asked her for a divorce and an end to their 18-year marriage. “He believes that what he says in public and how he lives don’t have to be connected,” she said in the interview.