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Weigh in on Personal Issues and the Presidency

Newt Gingrich blasted a debate moderator for asking a question about his ex-wife. Should questions like these be out of bounds?

It may have been the most dramatic moment to date in the 2012 presidential campaign.

Newt  Gingrich responded angrily Thursday night when CNN moderator John King used the first question in a Republican presidential debate to ask the former House speaker to respond to allegations leveled at him by his ex-wife.

Marianne Gingrich told ABC News, that her former husband asked her for an "open marriage," before the couple divorced.

Gingrich told King he was "appalled" by the question.

Questions about his personal life and possible sexual dalliances also dogged former president Bill Clinton during his 1992 campaign and during his stint in the White House.

We want to know if personal questions have a place in presidential campaigns. Was King's question out of bounds? How important is a candidate's character in determining who should be president and how do we judge character? We want you to take our poll and weigh in with your comments below.

Ed January 21, 2012 at 02:21 PM
In the grand scheme of all the problems our country is facing, such as recession, trillions of dollars in debt, unemployment in the millions, newt's marital problems are nowhere near as important to me. The questions to be asked are about how they will get this great nation back on the road to recovery. The last three years have been a disaster. The liberals have taken us down the wrong path. I fear for what we are leaving our grandchildren. Let's start talking about the issues, not trivial matters.
Mark January 21, 2012 at 10:19 PM
One thing we do not need in the next 4 years is distraction about his personal character. The job is hard enough without this type of distraction. If he can't answer the question now, how will he handle it in the future. Clinton had the same problem of not being able to accomplish his goals because of the constant distraction of dealing with the press. He is not the man for the job.
M Hayes January 22, 2012 at 03:18 AM
I could not care less regarding his private life, if, he loves this country, half as much, as, I do, and will work , to keep it, the greatest country in the world, and keep it safe , for, our children, and grand children, and NEVER, apologize for America, , then, you bet your kazooti, He, has my vote!!! MAryann
Kristen Ferrari January 22, 2012 at 08:00 PM
I wouldn't care about his marital problems had he not recently signed a Pledge to Fidelity. By signing any Fidelity Pledge at the behest of a Christian rights organization, Newt opened the door to his long history of marital difficulty. Rudy Guiliani was not a great husband or father but he made a great mayor. I respected the fact that he chose not to pretend to be a leader in morality. And Ed, Newt was the first one to criticize Clinton. I look at him and just think of the whole people in glass houses thing. They seem to always be the first to criticize personal scrutiny when the glass shatters.
Kristen Ferrari January 22, 2012 at 08:05 PM
What happens should one of your kids come out of the closet, have an affair or get a divorce? Does it bother you that Newt makes demands on others that he cannot live up to himself? Is he going to fight for this country or only those who subscribe to his religious beliefs despite the fact that there is supposed to be a separation of church and state? His affiliation with Bob Vaander Plats is a little scary. How much power will that man have if Newt is elected? And who is Bob Vaander Plats to decide anything for my household or yours or anyone else's?
Ed January 22, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Kristen. I am less worried about Newt's affiliation with Bob Plats than I am about Obama's affiliations with some of his hand picked Csars, such as Eric Holder who decides on his own which laws he will defend or ignore.
Kristen Ferrari January 22, 2012 at 10:15 PM
And Ed, that is part of the problem. My comment had nothing to do with Obama yet you made it about him and his affiliations without addressing a very real problem. Newt was indignant that he would be asked about his personal life but when you sign a Pledge as he did because of pressure by a Christian organization, then don't you open yourself up for scrutiny or you think it is a contest over who has a worse affiliation? How much separation of church and state will there be if a man like Bob Vaander Plats has so much influence on the candidates? I have no problem with you questioning Obama's affiliations but don't let that blind you from questioning the affiliations of any other candidate including Newt.
Ed January 22, 2012 at 10:52 PM
I think that this election should be about which candidate is better prepared to solve the serious problems facing our country. I do not want to get bogged down with petty distractions. We have to concentrate on the big picture. I realize that you and I will probably disagree on most issues but I respect your opinions and wish that you could also respect people's views that do not agree with you.
Kristen Ferrari January 22, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Ed, I'm sorry if you feel I wasn't respectful of your opinion. I asked a question because I see a lot of deflection of actual issues from both parties. Without me stating my positions, you assume we disagree all because I question Newt's affiliation with a Christian based organization. I am not defending Obama or his affiliations. I am merely pointing out that Newt signed a Pledge to Fidelity because of pressure from a Christian group. That concerns me because a)why should any religious group have such sway b)by signing a public pledge, you invite the scrutiny c) by making a public pledge to stop others from having access to equal rights it makes me wonder if he really believes in that or he believes that only because there is enough support coming from that area that he will sign anything without conviction and there is the question there about equal rights and discrimination, at least in my view, which I hope you will respect. So again, let me apologize if you feel I wasn't respectful of your opinion. I respect everyone's right to an opinion whether it is one I share or not. But I don't know that I agree that questioning something is a sign of disrespect. Of course there are many issues facing this country but the Pledge and all it represents happen to be a biggie for me. But that doesn't mean I disagree with you or don't respect your opinion.
Ralph Nesberino January 23, 2012 at 01:04 AM
Bottom line- America is at war on a few fronts. Middle East, the every day economy and balancing massive debt. Newt's problem with has wife is collateral damage and HE himself is totally responsible. She could be the blame for the problem, whatever it is. Do not believe everything you read or see in the media. Leave his bedroom problems in his bedroom, unless you witness it!
Kristen Ferrari January 23, 2012 at 01:20 AM
Ralph, as I said earlier, Newt is the one that didn't leave his marital problems in the bedroom by signing a Pledge to Fidelity in which he promises to uphold the institution of marriage in various ways, one being denying the right to marry to the gay community whom also happen to be tax paying citizens. Besides that, how can someone who is on his third marriage sign such a pledge and not believe it would invite questions regarding his marital history. I don't need to witness his bedroom habits to know that he is on his third marriage which makes me question him being someone in a position to uphold the sanctity of marriage. Don't sign the pledge and don't become a speaker of family values and morality. That's all I'm saying. That isn't a defense of any other candidate. It is a simple observation about Newt. You can hate Obama all you want but it still doesn't change the situation with Newt is all I'm saying.
M Hayes January 24, 2012 at 12:39 AM
Kristen, you make much of Newet's transgressions, I, know of no one, who can toss, a grain, of sand, let alone a stone, This country, is in a precarious situation, we have, in the White House a, non, leader, it, is time we had someone , to speak for all the people of this great country, and, not just, a select few..Your views, are, most admirable, unfortunately, they do not reflect, the views of the South Carolina voters.,Maryann
John Rennhack January 24, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Ed, do you know what you are talking about or do you just parrot words you've heard? Did you have a problem with the 49 czars that GW Bush had? That's more than Obama. Reagan had a few. So did GHW Bush. Do you know that the word "czar" isn't any official title but a nickname? They are all appointed by the president and have a specific job. Here is some background so that you know what you are talking about.. http://www.factcheck.org/2009/09/czar-search/
John Rennhack January 24, 2012 at 01:07 AM
Just curious, what was your opinion on Bill Clinton and Anthony Wiener? I find it funny that everyone I have encountered that dismiss Newts transgressions were out for blood with Clinton and Wiener.
John Rennhack January 24, 2012 at 01:08 AM
Aren't you alarmed at Gingrich being a major hypocrite. He talks about defending traditional marriage but he is divorced twice. He was an attack dog on Clinton all the while having an affair with a staffer.
M Hayes January 24, 2012 at 01:42 AM
Clinton, and, Weiner, are, of, no consequence, it is Knewt we are talking about, obviously, you look for adverse opinions, try talking to people who care about our country, and, not a particular party, as, for my opinion, you really, would , not appreciate it......Maryann
Kristen Ferrari January 24, 2012 at 01:52 AM
Maryann, please allow me again to state that I really don't care about Newt's transgressions. What I do care about is that he recently signed a Pledge to Fidelity because a Christian rights organization demanded he do so. He signed it despite the fact the he is on his third wife and despite the fact that he proposed to each new wife while still married to the previous one. It is the hypocrisy of a man who goes on a lecture circuit preaching about morals and family values that bother me, not his transgressions. I'm not sure what is so hard to understand about my position. It is my belief that by signing a Pledge to Fidelity, you open yourself up to the scrutiny. As someone who is divorced I hesitate to preach to anyone about the sanctity of marriage and if I did I would be opening myself up to criticism. Is that clearer for you or do you still not understand the point I'm making and why I'm making it?
Kristen Ferrari January 24, 2012 at 01:54 AM
Maryann, people were out for Weiner's blood and he resigned office over his transgression. Did you feel that was what he should have done? It isn't to look for adverse opinions as to say why is one transgression worse than another or is it only when the political affiliation is suitable?
John Rennhack January 24, 2012 at 03:06 AM
So, did you dismiss the Clinton and Weiner personal issues or did you get bent out of shape about them? Not answering is quite telling.
M Hayes January 24, 2012 at 03:39 AM
Kristen and John, I, find it somewhat ironic, how the two of you cannot get off, the Clinton, Weiner fiasco, you seem to be on a train, going nowhere..I, am not in the habit, of judging, you, apparently are experts, in that field, how lonely, it must be, to, be, perfect.. you have beaten the Clinton, Weiner rug to shreds, give it up already!!!Maryann
Kristen Ferrari January 24, 2012 at 03:44 AM
Maryann, I find it ironic that you're claiming I'm beating anything to shreds. You disputed my point and I was making an attempt to correct what you thought my point was. Weiner was not my example but since it was brought up, I simply asked a question. I am not perfect and stated that in my response to you. I said I am divorced and therefore would not presume to lecture anyone on the sanctity of marriage. I'm just not sure where your argument is coming from. As a mother, I want someone who can bring this country around just as you do. I never stated my political position just my concern over the hypocrisy of something. I'm not sure where the problem is with doing that.
M Hayes January 24, 2012 at 04:08 AM
kristene, Goodnight, sleep well, this to, shall pass!!! Maryann
Tom LaSusa January 24, 2012 at 02:49 PM
I'm going to echo John and Kristen here -- the fact that Newt had marriage infidelities or asked his second wife for an open marriage are not the issue here. What happens in someone's bedroom/personal life with another consenting adult is their own business. That may not make them a particularly good person, but it shouldn't have any bearing on whether or not they can perform a certain job. I've long said that IMO Bill Clinton was one of this country's best presidents, if not a terribly good husband/human being. No the real issue here is that Newt has based a large portion of his campaign on a 'moral platform' and bringing back a 'classical America.' Essentially he's standing up there on his podium, passing judgement on the rest of us, while he doesn't feel he needs to follow the standards he -- and many of the GOP -- are trying to enforce upon the rest of the country. So I do have to admit my surprise that South Carolina chose Newt. Maybe they've decided that his merits outweigh his shortcomings. And that's their prerogative. But then I challenge them, as well as anyone else who supports Newt, to not become hypocrites in the future: If Newt's personal lifestyle choices are not an issue to them when choosing a potential presidential candidate, then the same should apply for all others. No judging gays or condemning women's right to choose -- it's their personal choices and should not be decided -- or judged -- by anyone else in the country.
Kristen Ferrari January 24, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Thank you Tom, for understanding my point. It is puzzling to me that my point was so sorely missed. There are other important issues this country faces but if a question cannot be asked based on a candidate's actions, what hope do we have?

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