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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field / CAMPAIGN 2012

Livingston: ‘Newt is Volatile’

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.

photo of Sarah Huisenga
January 20, 2012

With friends like these, Newt Gingrich should probably follow President Harry Truman's advice and get a dog.

Former Rep. Bob Livingston, R-La., addressed a small crowd in Charleston, S.C., on Friday, acting as a surrogate and supporter of the former House speaker. Livingston was gently breaking the news that Gingrich would not be speaking to the group after all. Asked by reporters why Gingrich was a no-show, Livingston was surprisingly candid.

“Newt is volatile, to say the least,” he said -- not the optimal endorsement for a presidential candidate who has been assailed by his Republican rivals as a chaotic and disorganized leader.


Gingrich canceled an event on Friday morning and avoided talking with reporters after his second wife, Marianne Gingrich, said in an interview with ABC News that he had confessed to a six-year affair with a congressional aide and then asked her to engage in an “open marriage” so that he could keep his mistress. That mistress is now his third wife, Callista Gingrich. In a candidates' debate Thursday evening, Gingrich denied asking Marianne for an open marriage.

The candidate visited a children’s hospital, but he also declined to answer questions from journalists. He took a walking tour of the hospital, and Callista read the children’s book she wrote, Sweet Land of Liberty, to some of the facility’s young patients.

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