Newt Gingrich 'Wanted an Open Marriage'

On the very day that the hottest Republican presidential candidate of all time drops out of the race, the candidate... with the largest cranium of all time is revealed to have asked his wife for an open marriage.

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On the very day that the hottest Republican presidential candidate of all time drops out of the race, the candidate... with the largest cranium of all time is revealed to have asked his wife Marianne for an open marriage. What kind of sick, twisted joke is the universe playing on us? Newt Gingrich's second wife claims that he not only asked her for an open marriage once he admitted to having an affair, he also said that Callista okay'd the idea and that they conducted their affair in Newt and Marianne's marital bed. "And I just stared at him and he said, 'Callista doesn't care what I do,'" Gingrich's ex-wife told ABC News' Brian Ross, in an interview that will air Thursday night. "He wanted an open marriage and I refused."

Marianne Gingrich appeals to be in full revenge mode. She also spoke to The Washington Post's James V. Grimaldi, saying she first learned he wanted a divorce when Gingrich phoned her while she and her mother were having dinner on her mother's birthday. Right after that, Marianne says he gave an ironically-themed speech: "How could he ask me for a divorce on Monday and within 48 hours give a speech on family values and talk about how people treat people?" Marianne's ABC interview also establishes a pattern of Gingrich leaving wives once they become ill. She says he asked for a divorce just months after he listened by her side as she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. "He also was advised by the doctor when I was sitting there that I was not to be under stress. He knew," she says.

Gingrich infamously had his affair while he was pushing for the impeachment of then-President Bill Clinton over his affair with Monica Lewinsky. This moral lapse, Gingrich told the Christian Broadcasting Network this spring, happened because he was fighting so hard for the country. No, really: "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," Gingrich said. Where did Gingrich get the idea for an open marriage? Maybe he was following the example of then-Colorado Gov. Roy Romer, who was moved by the Lewinsky scandal to hold a press conference to discuss his long-term affair he conducted with his family's blessing. The 1990s! It was a wilder time.

Just two days before voting in South Carolina, the Republican primary is getting really seedy. An anonymous flyer claims social conservative Rick Santorum's wife had an affair with an "abortionist." But polls show it's Gingrich that frontrunner Mitt Romney needs to worry about. In August, Michele Bachmann complained that Matt Drudge was buddies with Mitt Romney. Thursday, the Drudge Report gave the open marriage story the  full Drudge treatment.

Gingrich's campaign released a video with his daughters promising he's a great guy. But it's hard to imagine voters would want their daughters dating a guy like him.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.