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Gingrich Account Of Divorce Disputed By Aides: Daughters Stand By His Side
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Gingrich Account Of Divorce Disputed By Aides: Daughters Stand By His Side

The rumor has always been that Newt Gingrich walked into a hospital room where his first wife, Jackie Battley was recovering from surgery and served her with divorce papers. Gingrich is denying that account and has also claimed that not only did he not ask for the divorce in the first place, there was no dramatic serving of appers in the hospital because Battley did not have cancer in the first place. Gingrich also said that it was his wife who asked for the divorce, an account echoed by his youngest daughter, one of this staunchest supporters.

Jackie Gingrich Cushman was thirteen years old when her parent's marriage ended, but has written her account of the event on the Gingrich web site, on a page they are calling "Answering the Attacks". Jackie said that the statements were not factual, denied that her mother had ever been treated for cancer and then stated that it was Mrs. Gingrich who demanded a divorce and that her father had only complied with those demands.

Gingrich filed divorce papers in the middle of July, 1980 but the response from the first Mrs. Gingrich was to ask the judge to reject that motion. Jackie Battley has been virtually silent on the mater, last granting a brief interview in 1985 where she stated that the divorce action had come as a "complete surprise" to her.

Several others, including family friends and former coworkers have come forward saying that they recall conversations with Gingrich about the end of his marriage to Battley. One friend, who had served as the treasurer for the first congressional campaign shed a little more light on the matter, saying that Gingrich had felt that Jackie Battley was "not young or attractive" enough to be the First Lady. That friend, Leonard H. "Kip" Carter reportedly broke off all ties with Gingrich following that conversation.

Gingrich married his second wife, Marianne Ginther, a congressional aide just six months after the finalization of that first divorce. That couple divorced less than twenty years later after Gingrich was discovered to be having an affair with another, younger congressional aide. Third wife, Callista Bisek is now reportedly a major supporter in the Gingrich campaign, along with his two daughters.

Gingrich has been up and down in the polls, at times flirting with the idea of giving up when it looked like campaign finances was going to cause major problems. He has been referring questions about this divorce and other, personal questions to his web site.


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