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November 02, 2011

Gingrich's Daughter: No, My Father Did Not Visit My Mom While She Was In The Hospital For Cancer To Demand a Divorce

I have heard this so many times I thought it was true.

Among the things that aren't true? Even the part about the wife having cancer.

So, to correct the record, here is what happened: My mother, Jackie Battley Gingrich, is very much alive, and often spends time with my family. I am lucky to have such a "Miracle Mom," as I titled her in a column this week.

As for my parents' divorce, I can remember when they told me.

It was the spring of 1980.

I was 13 years old, and we were about to leave Fairfax, Va., and drive to Carrollton, Ga., for the summer. My parents told my sister and me that they were getting a divorce as our family of four sat around the kitchen table of our ranch home.

Soon afterward, my mom, sister and I got into our light-blue Chevrolet Impala and drove back to Carrollton.

Later that summer, Mom went to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta for surgery to remove a tumor. While she was there, Dad took my sister and me to see her.

It is this visit that has turned into the infamous hospital visit about which many untruths have been told. I won't repeat them. You can look them up online if you are interested in untruths. But here's what happened:

My mother and father were already in the process of getting a divorce, which she requested.

Dad took my sister and me to the hospital to see our mother.

She had undergone surgery the day before to remove a tumor.

The tumor was benign.

Other than that, though, the story checks out.

Wikipedia claims it went down this way:

In the spring of 1980, Gingrich left Battley after having an affair with Marianne Ginther.[116][117] In 1984, Battley told the Washington Post that the divorce was a "complete surprise" to her. According to Battley, in September 1980, Gingrich and their children visited her while she was in the hospital, recovering from surgery, and Gingrich wanted to discuss the terms of their divorce.[118] Gingrich has disputed that account.[91] In 2011, their daughter, Jackie Gingrich Cushman, said that it was her mother who requested the divorce, that it happened prior to the hospital stay (which was for the removal of a benign tumor, not cancer), and that Gingrich's visit was for the purpose of bringing the couple's children to see their mother, not to discuss the divorce.

So even the actual tale that gets passed around does not have Gingrich asking for the divorce, but bringing up terms of a divorce in process, and the whole "cancer" thing is absent.

Look, if two people are getting a divorce under bitter circumstances (and the circumstances are almost always bitter), it's gonna come up in one way or the other. Even when they try to make nice-nice with the kids around.

So the actual baggage of Gingrich turns out to be divorced twice, had an affair (I'm guessing plural, but I just know of the one).

Which is kind of conventional. Not good, but hardly shocking.


Via Carl Paulus.



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posted by Ace at 02:39 PM

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