At Saturday night's Republican presidential debate, no names were mentioned when the candidates were asked whether voters should consider marital fidelity in making their choice for president. But it was no accident that Newt Gingrich looked a bit uncomfortable as each of his opponents took a turn at answering.
Rick Perry said he had "made a vow to my wife and a vow to God" and that was "even stronger than a handshake in Texas." When ABC's George Stephanopolous asked if infidelity made a politician more likely to break faith with the voters, Perry responded, "If you will cheat on your wife, cheat on your spouse, why not cheat on your business partner?"
Rick Santorum said that marital infidelities are "not a disqualifier" but are "certainly a factor" and that in electing a leader, "trust is everything."
Michele Bachmann, in a Newt-onian flourish, cited the Federalist Papers, saying that what is needed in a president is not wealth, education or position. "It is what is the measure of the man or, in this case, woman. Will they keep their word? Will they be a man or woman of integrity? That's what they care about. ... Who are you really? What's your core?" she said.
Then it was Gingrich's turn. "Well, first of all, it's a real issue," he conceded, noting that voters "have to have a feeling this is a person they can trust. ... People have to render judgment."
"I've said I made mistakes," he added as the TV cameras showed his third wife, Callista. He then suggested that since he is now a 68-year-old grandfather, it might be time to move on. "I'm delighted at the way people have been willing to look at who I am," said Gingrich.
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