For almost as long as Newt Gingrich has been in public life, an unflattering story has shadowed him: That as a rising young Republican congressman from Georgia, Gingrich ended his first marriage by serving his wife with divorce papers while she lay in a hospital bed dying of cancer.This is the story, or at least the most extreme version of the story, the you hear whenever Newt's name is brought up, or often, even when it isn't, say when Bill Clinton's escapades are mentioned by Republicans. This is a story that resonates strongly with women voters, and would likely be a significant drag on any Gingrich presidential run. So, what actually happened?
Most significantly, Battley wasn’t dying at the time of the hospital visit; she is alive today.
Nor was the divorce discussion in the hospital “a surprise” to Battley, as many accounts have contended. Battley, not Gingrich, had requested a divorce months earlier, according to Jackie Gingrich Cushman, the couple’s second daughter.
Further, Gingrich did not serve his wife with divorce papers on the day of his visit (unlike a subpoena, divorce papers aren’t typically “served”).Three lies in one four line synopsis? Now that's the media we've come to know and love. another amusing factoid about the divorce:
Battley, who is seven years older than Gingrich, had been Gingrich’s high-school math teacher in Columbus, Ga. They began dating after he graduated and were married in 1962, when Gingrich was 19 and a freshman at Emory University in Atlanta.So Newt was hot for teacher at 19, but not so hot at 35ish? I can see that happening.