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    I hope character counts.

    I hope character counts.

    Newt Gingrich has been incredibly brazen in the past few weeks, forming an exploratory committee to help consider his first steps towards a presidential bid in 2012. Yesterday it was reported that “if he runs for president he will make his announcement in early May outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia” and that he’s leaning towards a “yes” on his decision to run.

    I’m in the George Will school of skepticism about Newt’s run. I think of him as an attention hog with very few principles to rub together. Sure, he did a great service in 1994 as Speaker of the House. Sure, he knows a lot of history.* But look at his career after Congress!

    Vanity Fair really nailed Newt on his recent commentary regarding his adulterous past:

    In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network this week, Newt Gingrich blamed his history of philandering on patriotism: “There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate.” Which raises many questions, and prompts a few conclusions. To wit:

    1. This must be a recent insight of Gingrich’s, because a quick Google search shows he never cited Bill Clinton’s love of country during the 1998 impeachment drive.

    2. If loving America leads to full-on adultery, does loving your home state lead to office-party flirting?

    3. Ewww. Where does loving France or Greece lead?

    I have an interview tomorrow for an internship. I wonder what will happen if they ask about a blemish in my résumé and I proceed to cite diligence or congeniality as the cause….

    Newt isn’t a bad person, necessarily. Though I fail to understand why anyone would favor him over someone like a Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson, or Haley Barbour. Everyone has baggage, but why should we have to nominate anyone who oscillates carelessly?

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    Hmm. I seem to remember a number of presidents, some of them great ones, with "blemishes" on their records as regards women. Jefferson, FDR and Eisenhower among them. Not one of them gave a public apology and said they had asked God for forgiveness.

    It's clear from the context that he isn't blaming his passion for the country for what he did. Otherwise, why would he need forgiveness?

    I'm not a Newt supporter, but it's not over something as petty as beginning an off the cuff answer askew. I give him loads of credit for saying that he thought what he did required forgiveness.

    I wonder how many of those critiquing his statement have ever themselves admitted publicly to asking for forgiveness for specific acts. That takes courage, even character in an age in which divorce (for any reason) and promiscuity (for any reason) is more normal than not.

    He not only cheats on his wives and kicks them when they're down, he is disingenuous. His spin on his behavior is almost as bad as his behavior. Glad you feel the same.

    @ T.D., my point was that he wimps around it when confronted. Also, Newt's Arne Duncan-collaborating, flip floppy, tax dodgy ways speak for themselves.

    viator | March 11, 2011 at 7:14 am

    Gee, Kathleen, no women on your list. I hope you're not a misogynist.

    That would be very hard on several levels — (

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