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David Corn: Yes, Newt Gingrich really did ask his Wife for a divorce while she was in the Hospital with Cancer | Mofo Politics
MATTHEWS: Well, let’s go to this, the reports that Newt Gingrich served his dying wife divorce papers in the hospital. The Gingrich site says — quote — “This story is a vicious lie. It was first reported by a left-wing magazine in the 1980s based on hearsay and has survived in left-wing chat rooms on the Internet until today. It is completely false. Recently, Newt’s daughter, Jackie Gingrich Cushman” – or Cushman — “wrote a column to set the record straight about this smear. The column reveals that, one, it was her mother that requested the divorce, not Newt, and it was months before the hospital visit in question. Two, her mother was in the hospital to remove a tumor, but it was benign, and she is still alive today. Three, Newt visited the hospital for the purpose of taking his two children to see their mother, not to discuss the divorce.” Was that left-wing magazine ” Mother Jones”?
CORN: It was ” Mother Jones” back in 1984.
MATTHEWS: And what is your account of that?
CORN: And what happened was — and it was not based on hearsay. It was based on named sources. In the spring of 1980, the Gingriches broke up. This is two years after his first election to the Congress. In September– they separated. In 19 — in September of 1980, Newt brought his two young girls to see his mother, and they asked the mother, can daddy come up and see you? While she was recovering from surgery related to her cancer, he gave her divorce papers to review. He didn’t ask for the divorce, but there were divorce papers to review. And who also backs up this account? Jackie Gingrich herself, the wife. She’s — so it’s not hearsay. This is what happened.
MATTHEWS: So the gist of the story is that he was so insensitive as to serve — as to ask his wife to agree to various points of a divorce agreement while she was in a hospital with a cancer treatment is true?
CORN: Yes. That is true. It’s undeniable. He and his — one of his daughters have said it’s not true, without giving an alternative account.
MATTHEWS: So he and his new wife, Callista, are now rewriting history in this new statement they’re putting out. This, by the way, is a new form of life here, where the candidate and his new wife put together these statements…
MATTHEWS: … referring to himself in the third person as innocent of all previous wrongdoing.
CORN: Well, Newt Gingrich…
MATTHEWS: This is a self-exoneration like we haven’t seen in a while.
CORN: Yes. Newt Gingrich has more flip-flops than the Mitt Romney surf shop. And it’s not just on policy. It’s on a lot of aspects of his life. He kind of reminds me of a snake that eats his own tail and then keeps rolling along.
MATTHEWS: OK. Tony, I wish you well. I have always liked the fact that you’re an honest conservative and you do try to find the truth. I hope you don’t have to be so nimble as to find in this man presidential greatness. I do think that would be a drop in the bar for the conservative movement itself. Your thoughts, finally.
PERKINS: I think — well, the movement is looking for a candidate they can get behind. What people have seen in the last few months of Newt Gingrich is kind of a different version of Newt Gingrich, in that he has played a role, as I said, as kind of an elder statesman, and has provided some really key insights. But, again, he’s going to undergo some intense scrutiny, and I’m not sure he holds up to that when it’s all said and done.
MATTHEWS: David Corn, thank you. Tony Perkins, as always, sir, thank you for coming on. Happy Thanksgiving to you, sir. And happy Thanksgiving to you, sir. I can do it both ways.