Newt’s desire for an open marriage

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It’s been a mixed bag for Newt Gingrich today. Rick Perry dropped out of the race and endorsed him, but now his second wife, Marianne Gingrich, has come forward to give details about their marriage.

You can watch the video above, and the full interview will air tonight on Nightline.

Basically, Newt Gingrich was having an affair during his second marriage with Callista, who later became his third wife. According to Marianne, Newt wanted an “open marriage” so that he could continue the affair.

I’m not a big fan of the private sexual life of a politician being an issue in campaigns. There are plenty of men who have had affairs who managed to be good presidents. The hysteria over Bill Clinton’s personal shortcomings was idiotic, as it led to impeachment hearings.

But we know that these things matters to some voters, particularly conservative and religious voters. Newt’s marital problems are well-known, but this salacious detail regarding his desire for an open marriage will certainly garner attention. Had Bill Clinton run again, his personal life and the Monica Lewinsky affair certainly would have been issues as well.

Also, there are few people as contemptuous as Newt Gingrich. He’s always willing to pass judgement on others, often in the harshest terms, so if anyone deserves this scrutiny it’s him. He doesn’t have a warm personality or a record of good will to fall back on.

It’s going to be fascinating to see how this plays out. Gingrich has a real shot at derailing Mitt Romney, but he needs to get past this story. If he can’t, then perhaps Rick Santorum can emerge as the last obstacle to a Mitt Romney nomination.

Rick Perry acknowledged that Newt isn’t perfect and he stressed the importance of forgiveness and redemption. Let’s see how the evangelical voters of South Carolina feel about it.

  

Bill Clinton campaigns for Barack Obama in Florida

Barack Obama has been surging in the polls, and now the Obama campaign is bringing out the big guns.

Bill Clinton campaigned today for Obama in Florida. John McCain’s lead has evaporated in Florida and Ohio, and some polls show Obama with a lead in those states. Clinton can be a huge help getting independents and Democrats to fall in line for Obama, particularly in the current economic environment.

Up to now Clinton has been a liability. He’s terrible in interviews as he can’t hide his disapointment that Obama beat Hillary for the nomination. But on the stump he’s a huge asset. He knows how to give a speech, and he knows how to frame an argument that will persuade voters. If he keeps this up and Hillary continues to hit the campaign trail, Obama should be able to close the deal.

  

Another Clinton home run

Hillary did it last night. Bill did it tonight. Another great speech in support of Barack Obama. One step at a time, the party is becoming unified.

It was a great night of redemption for Bill Clinton. After a tough primary campaign where he made some mistakes, the crowd was with him from the start, giving him a huge ovation.

  

Obama invites Bill Clinton to speak at the convention; Bill accepts

MSNBC is reporting that Bill Clinton will speak on Wednesday night at the Democtratic convention, the same night that the Vice Presidential pick will speak.

The media is having a field day talking up the “rift” between Obama and the Clintons. Naturally, the Clintons can’t do anything without a heavy dose of drama, but as usual this is all overblown.

I would have been shocked if Bill Clinton wasn’t asked to speak at the convention, so this is not a surprise. Of course, it should have happened sooner, and we have no idea if this is the fault of the Clintons or the Obama campaign.

In any event, expect great speeches from both Bill and Hillary, which will be a big boost for Obama.

  

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