One of his first independent acts was to escape the totalitarian regime of his stepfather's home. He chose a path that women have used for generations: he made a jailbreak marriage, attaching himself at the tender age of 19 to his high-school geometry teacher, Jackie Battley --a buxom blonde seven years his senior. "He was her little boy," says Kit. [Kit Gingrich, Newt's mother]
Along with his amorphous political persona, Newt showed a propensity for the kind of behavior boys boast about in the locker room. Throughout his first campaign he was having an affair with a young volunteer. Dot Crews, who occasionally drove the candidate, says that almost everybody involved in the campaign knew. Kip Carter claims, "We'd have won in 1974 if we could have kept him out of the office, screwing her on the desk."
The Gingriches entered marriage counseling, but Newt continued to behave as if other people's rules didn't apply to him. Dot Crews observes, "It was common knowledge that Newt was involved with other women during his marriage to Jackie. Maybe not on the level of John Kennedy. But he had girlfriends --some serious, some trivial."
During 1979 and 1980, Newt Gingrich --despite his political success-- entered a period of crisis. He almost, to borrow a phrase, "wiped out." "He went through a real down period, ducked his head, retreated from the battlefield," says Eddie Mahe. According to other sources, Newt was drinking heavily. "There were people concerned about his stability," says Kip Carter.
"It was a very, very bad period of my life," Newt has admitted. "It had been getting steadily worse. I ultimately wound up at a point where suicide, or going insane, or divorce were the last three options." In April 1980, he told Jackie, who was suffering from uterine cancer, that he was filing for divorce.
He was soon having an affair with a woman known to a member of his staff as "the mystery lady." Fifteen years younger than Newt's wife, she had "big cow eyes," says one former congressman. It was the future Marianne Gingrich, whom Newt had met at a Republican fund-raiser in Ohio in January of 1980.
Certainly no way to treat anyone who has been given a cancer diagnosis. I cannot understand how anyone could profess to be shocked about Newt's background unless they either suffer from a very very poor memory or they've just not bothered to learn anything about the man. Hopefully this latest flap will bring back up what Newt has really done, to remind the public who the guy actually is.