This morning, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace questioned likely presidential candidate Newt Gingrich — who has placed social issues at the forefront of his emerging campaign — about his personal infidelities and multiple marriages. Gingrich has admitted to having an affair with a Congressional aide (his present wife Callista) while leading the impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton and so Wallace asked the former Speaker of the House if he thought his actions were hypocritical. Gingrich said they weren’t, going so far as to suggest that his past divorce and experience with giving depositions helped him understand why Clinton should have been impeached:
WALLACE: There is something else that bothers people. You were leading the charge to push Bill Clinton from office for lying about an affair and yes, he lied in a court proceeding, in a deposition, where he was sworn to tell the truth, whole truth, nothing but the truth. At the same time, you were leading that charge, you were having an affair. Isn’t that hypocrisy?
GINGRICH: No. Look, obviously it’s complex and obviously I wasn’t doing things to be proud of. On the other hand, what I said clearly — and I knew this in part going through a divorce. I had been in depositions. I had been in situations where you had to swear to tell the truth. I understood that in a federal court, in a case in front of a federal judge, to commit a felony, which is what he did, perjury was a felony. The question I raised was simple: should a president of the united states be above the law? […]
WALLACE: I’ll ask you man-to-man. did you think to yourself I’m living in a really glass house? Maybe I shouldn’t be throwing stones?
GINGRICH: No. I thought to myself if I cannot do what I have to do as a public leader, I would have resigned.
Earlier this month, Gingrich tried to justify his divorces by telling the Christian Broadcasting Network that he engaged in his affairs because he was overworked and overcome with patriotism for America. “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,” he said. “And what I can tell you is that when I did things that were wrong, I wasn’t trapped in situation ethics, I was doing things that were wrong, and yet, I was doing them.”