Newt Gingrich said over the weekend that "lies" had been told about his wife, Callista Gingrich, that were "to her disadvantage" during the campaign, and griped that "it's not fair."
Speaking to Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody, Gingrich acknowledged that his wife of 11 years is a "public figure," but said he thinks "there's a general principle of spouses being fairly out of bounds, and people not taking shots."
Gingrich is almost certainly referring to recent claims in an e-book that Gingrich "bought off" his wife with jewelry and luxury vacations so that she would allow him to remain in the presidential race.
Controversy is nothing new to the couple, who carried on an illicit relationship for six years while Gingrich was still married to his second wife, Marianne Gingrich. Gingrich has admitted that he "regrets" past behavior.
He also told Brody that his wife has been "100 percent" crucial to his sanity in a presidential primary contest that saw his campaign rebound after being largely left for dead last summer, when staffers who resigned en masse blamed their departures on Callista Gingrich for insisting that her husband take time off from campaigning to go on a cruise in Greece.
Gingrich said it was then, "when it was really bad this summer, the two worst months of [my] 53-year career," that Callista encouraged him to continue his campaign, and "just get to the debates. Just endure it, and get to the debates."
Political observers might be surprised to learn that Gingrich feels the two months last summer during which his campaign languished are the time he considers the worst of his career -- in 1998 he was forced to resign from Congress and his position as Speaker of the House amid mounting ethics scandals and widespread concern that his personal life had become a political liability.