A woman who worked for Newt Gingrich‘s first successful congressional campaign in 1977 is sharing allegations of an adulterous affair with her boss in an attempt to stem the rise of the current GOP front-runner.
Anne Manning says that she had an adulterous relationship with Gingrich 34 years ago. At the time, he was married to his first wife, Jackie Battley, and campaigning for Congress with the slogan “Let Our Family Represent Your Family.”
Manning told the National Enquirer that she performed a sexual act on Gingrich in a Washington, D.C. hotel room, but adds that they didn’t have sex so that “he could say he had not slept with me.”
“He always talks about being big on family values but he doesn’t practice what he preaches,” Manning said, according to London’s Daily Mail newspaper. “I wasn’t planning to say a word about him, but voters need to know what sort of man they’re being asked to support.”
Manning first alleged in 1995 that she had had an affair with Gingrich, telling Vanity Fair, “We had oral sex. He prefers that modus operandi because then he can say, ‘I never slept with her.’”
Gingrich has publicly acknowledged his past infidelities: He cheated on his first wife with Marianne Ginther, who he later married. In turn, he cheated on Ginther with his current wife Callista Gingrich.
David Frum, formerly a speechwriter for President George W. Bush, pronounced earlier this year that “it’s not the infidelity” that will hurt Gingrich. “It’s the arrogance, hypocrisy, and — most horrifying to women voters — the cruelty.”
In 1984 Mother Jones reported that Gingrich presented his first wife with divorce papers while she was in the hospital recovering from uterine cancer surgery. The Washington Post related a similar story a year later. Gingrich’s daughter, Jackie Cushman, disputed this story in a 2011 column for Creators Syndicate, and later told the Union Leader newspaper in New Hampshire that it was her mother, not her father, who initiated divorce proceedings.
Media reports have suggested that Gingrich divorced his second wife shortly after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. But the Gingrich camp challenged that account as early as 2000, when his lawyer told The New York Post that it’s unlikely he knew of her medical condition until divorce proceedings were well underway.
Circumstances aside, the issue of Gingrich’s marital infidelity has split Christian conservatives, an influential voting bloc in Republican primary elections. Richard Land, a leader of the Southern Baptist Convention, claims to have conducted focus groups and found that evangelical women are particularly unnerved by the former House speaker’s past. Others became more supportive after he told the Christian Broadcasting Network in March that he “felt compelled to seek God’s forgiveness” for breaking his marriage vows.