Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was confronted Tuesday night by a college student asking about his extramarital affair during the 1990s.
"You adamantly oppose gay rights... but you've also been married three times and admitted to having an affair with your current wife while you were still married to your second," Isabel Friedman, president of the Penn Democrats, asked Gingrich after a speech at the University of Pennsylvania, according to Politico. "As a successful politician who's considering running for president, who would set the bar for moral conduct and be the voice of the American people, how do you reconcile this hypocritical interpretation of the religious values that you so vigorously defend?"
Revelations of Gingrich's infidelity triggered intense scrutiny, especially considering his own role in the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal, though some have suggested that the Speaker of the House and the President had then bonded over their indiscretions. Despite prior candor on the matter, however, Gingrich held his ground on Tuesday.
"I'll bet almost everybody here can gather the thrust of your question," he said. "I appreciate the delicacy and generosity in the way it was framed.... I hope you feel better about yourself.
Gingrich, who has been floated as a potential 2012 presidential candidate, then offered an explanation similar to the ones he's given before.
"I've had a life which, on occasion, has had problems," Gingrich said. "I believe in a forgiving God, and the American people will have to decide whether that's their primary concern. If the primary concern of the American people is my past, my candidacy would be irrelevant. If the primary concern of the American people is the future... that's a debate I'll be happy to have with your candidate or any other candidate if I decide to run."
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