The Newt and Callista Exploratory Presidential Campaign


Newt Gingrich’s exploratory presidential campaign appears to be a joint candidacy of him and his third wife, Callista. See the full size version of the photo (which includes the “Newt Explore 2012” lettering which is missing here) at the exploratory committee’s website (the full image is also reproduced below). See the “Note from Newt and Callista.” Not “From Newt,” but “From Newt and Callista.” Evidently this unreal man feels that it strengthens his candidacy to make his third wife—whose relationship with him began as a several-year-long adulterous affair during his marriage to his second wife and previous political partner, Marianne Gingrich (remember her?)—his co-candidate.

See also the crowd photo behind Newt and Callista, a carefully arranged mélange of white women, blacks, and Asians, with only one white man (wearing a silly hat which reduces his maleness) among them. This is of course the standard ethnic/sexual (im)balance seen constantly in today’s TV ads and college catalogues. Is this fictional postwhitemale America the America that Newt sees as his constituency? Of course not. Newt knows that Republican voters are overwhelmingly white, and more than half of them men. But he also adheres to the rule that in order to be morally legitimate in contemporary American public life you must surround yourself with nonwhites, or, as in this case, with images of nonwhites, even though in reality nonwhites have very little to do with you.

Indeed, the carefully arranged collection of nonwhites and women has even less to do with Newt and Callista than originally appears. As the Wall Street Journal reports, the crowd photo behind Newt and Callista comes originally from the website of the late Democratic icon Sen. Edward Kennedy:

The photo, of a multicultural crowd of smiling faces staring at the sky and waving flags, was meant to leave the impression that a huge and diverse group of Americans were lining up to support Mr. Gingrich and his wife, Callista, whose faces were superimposed over the crowd.

It turns out that the same crowd shot first appeared on the Kennedy site with the words: “We are the Democratic Majority.”

How many ways can a man be unreal? Being Newt Gingrich is about finding out.

(Note: I assume that the Newt/Callista Exploratory site will be taken down soon while the “We are the Democratic Majority” photo is replaced. Thanks to help from readers, an image of the page has been posted below.)

- end of initial entry -

LA writes:

Based on Callista’s artificial expression and frozen platinum dyed hair (see readers’ responses in earlier entry), I had assumed she was a woman in her fifties:


But according to Wikipedia she was born March 4, 1966. She turns 45 years old today.

And here’s something I didn’t know. Wikipedia reports: “In 1999, Gingrich testified that the couple had begun a romantic relationship in 1993, while Newt was still married.” This was before Gingrich became Speaker of the House. Thus during the 1994 congressional campaign in which Gingrich led the Republicans to their historic victory, and all during the four years of Gingrich’s Speakership, while he constantly interjected references to “Marianne” into his speeches and Marianne often stood at his side, he was carrying on an adulterous relationship with the woman who is now his co-candidate in his exploratory campaign for the presidency. No wonder Marianne always looked glum.

LA continues:

The above quote makes it appear that Newt (i.e. “Gingrich”) testified in 1999 about the affair begiinning in 1993. But it was Callista (whom the Wikipedia refers only to as Gingrich, and never provides her maiden name, Bisek) who testified. Here is the article Wikipedia was referencing, from the Chicago Tribune:

Across the nation.

November 11, 1999|By From Tribune News Services.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA—The congressional aide linked romantically to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has admitted that their affair began six years ago, while he was still married, Gingrich’s lawyer says.

Attorney Randy Evans said that Callista Bisek, 33, made the admission under oath during a deposition Tuesday.

Bisek told Gingrich’s lawyers the relationship began in November 1993, a year before Gingrich became House speaker, Evans said.

Gingrich, 56, has asserted he and his wife, Marianne, were legally separated at the time, but Evans conceded that the relationship continued even after the Gingriches were reconciled and Gingrich assumed the speakership in 1995.

Gingrich, a Georgia Republican, gave up his seat in Congress after the GOP’s disappointing showing in the November 1998 elections.

He separated from his wife of 18 years on May 10 and filed for divorce July 29.

LA continues:

In its article on Newt Gingrich, Wikipedia reports:

A Baptist since graduate school, Gingrich converted to Catholicism, [Callista] Bisek’s faith, on March 29, 2009. Gingrich has stated that he has developed a greater appreciation for the role of faith in public life following his conversion, and believes that the United States has become too secular. At a 2011 appearance in Columbus, Ohio, he said, “In America, religious belief is being challenged by a cultural elite trying to create a secularized America, in which God is driven out of public life.”

James P. writes:

Newt’s off to a great start! The “moral values” candidate’s moral values include not merely serial adultery but plagiarism! And stealing from Ted Kennedy, of all people. Though in some ways this is appropriate, given that Ted was also sexually immoral and intellectually dishonest.

LA replies:

And Ted, like Newt, also believed in the transformation of America into a non-European country.

A reader writes:

Do you actually think the photo will be changed?

LA replies:

Well, with the WSJ reporting that the photo came originally from Kennedy’s website with the caption, “We are the Democratic Majority,” you’d think that Gingrich would see it as an embarrassment and would want to change it. At the same time, Gingrich is utterly beyond embarrassment, so maybe he won’t.

Also, according to the WSJ, the photo wasn’t lifted from the Kennedy site (which presumably doesn’t exist anymore, at least in its previous form), but was purchased from a data bank. That doesn’t alter the problem.

The WSJ says:

The image was on sale at Getty Images under the title: “Large Crowd of People Holding Stars and Stripes Flags.”

* * *

A reader got a large jpg image of most of the page, which I’ve reduced in size to fit here:


The rest of the “Note from Newt & Callista,” not shown in the image, reads:

[of every] background. This is the responsibility of a free people.

We are excited about exploring whether there is sufficient support for my potential candidacy for President of this exceptional country.

* * *

A reader writes:

Interesting to see the original “We are the Democratic Majority” picture, shown in the WSJ article. It contains a good looking white man, with a young white woman on each side. In the Gingrich version, this is entirely blocked out by Newt and his wife:


LA replies:

Yes. So the Gingrich version is even more PC and multicultural than the Kennedy version. In the Kennedy version we have the familiar iconography of white man in the middle (indeed a young, virile white man, with two pretty white women), representing historic and familiar America, surrounded by nonwhites, representing the new America which is replacing the historic and familiar America. In the Gingrich version, the white man (along with the two women at his side) is gone.

A reader writes:

What a couple. At least they chose a more flattering photo than the Stepford Wife shot your website recently included.

Stephen T. writes:

Well, I can tell that background picture wasn’t taken in California. Had it been, it would have included more Mestizo Mexican youth. One would have been shown holding up a test tube and studying its contents with a scholarly expression. Another, peering into a telescope to chart distant galaxies. Still another would be playing a cello, or a French horn. Yes, it would have been quite a crowd scene, but not without precedent for staged photos: in the pictures Los Angeles County composed to advance-publicize the reopening of the Griffith Observatory, 90 percent of the people shown viewing the exhibits were Hispanic teenagers.

LA writes:

Even the New York Times has noticed the oddity of the co-candidacy. It reports that at Newt and Callista’s visit to the Georgia State capitol yesterday where they announced the formation of their exploratory committee,

[Gingrich] opened nearly every sentence with the phrase, “We believe.”

March 6

Vincent Chiarello writes:

The mention of Gingrich’s conversion to the religion of his (third) spouse brought to mind another recent Catholic convert: Tony Blair. While it would be churlish to deny either of these two politicians their inherent right to select whatever religion they wish to pursue, speaking from a (traditional) Catholic background, I can say without hesitation that neither of these two gentlemen brings anything of seminal value to their newly selected church; if anything, I’d say the opposite is true. To be perfectly frank, the Church faces its own serious problems without adding to them.

As for Blair, his party’s willful disregard of the English people’s wishes to limit and/or exclude increasing Moslem immigration into the country is beyond cavil. Blair saw nothing wrong in acceding to Labor’s demands that these new immigrants would keep Labor in power for the indefinite future, something akin to the Democratic Party’s support of amnestying illegal aliens in our country. Clearly, as a Christian of either a Catholic or Protestant variety, he also knew that he was allowing more future jihadists into Britain, whose ultimate purpose would be to destroy the democratic Christian culture that allowed the Moslems to enter Britain in the first place. As to Blair’s “Catholic” outlook, I need not say more than that his spiritual adviser was his wife, Cherie, a woman whose beliefs are not at odds with the most liberal Protestant organization.

Gingrich’s recently found religiosity may be heartfelt, but based on the evidence many “Trads” are not convinced that they will endure. If, and when, Newt hits the circuit and is asked about “gay marriage,” abortion, and the role of religion in the public square, I do not believe that Gingrich will cite his Catholic beliefs and respond accordingly. He will try to message his responses, for he is far too much of an ambitious pol for that.

I do not believe that Newt’s chances of securing the nomination are remotely possible, and I thank God for that.

LA replies:

Yes. Imagine how Gingrich’s newly found concern about excessive secularism and lack of respect for religion in our society will play out in practice. Can one think of a single substantive issue on which his solicititude for the religious basis of society will play any role?

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 04, 2011 08:00 AM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):