POLITICS
12/20/2011 11:49 am ET | Updated Dec 21, 2011

Newt Gingrich's Daughter, Jackie Gingrich Cushman, Talks 'Terrible Things' In Family's Past

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich's daughter, Jackie Gingrich Cushman, hit the campaign trail in South Carolina this week, working to allay ongoing concerns that GOP primary voters have expressed over her father's controversial personal history.

At a stop in Columbia, S.C., Cushman fielded a forthright question about Gingrich's past infidelities and divorces.

"Most families have gone through terrible things, whether it's divorce or tragedy. That's life," she responded, according to NBC News. "We've healed, we've reconciled."

Gingrich is currently married to Callista Gingrich, his third wife. He divorced Jackie Battley, his first wife and Cushman's mother, in 1980, after having an affair with Marianne Ginther, whom he later married in 1981. They got divorced in 2000 following a long-term affair with his current wife, whom he married later that year.

"I try to frame it in a way that makes sense and resonates with people," Cushman later told NBC News about the persistent scrutiny over their family history. "Like many families, we had a hard time and we've all moved on. And we're all focused on helping each other."

Cushman has also been on a mission to dispel an oft-cited story about Gingrich supposedly serving her mother divorce papers while she was in the hospital recovering from cancer.

In a column last month, she attempted deconstruct the so-called "deathbed divorce" myth, writing that her parents' divorce was already in motion before the now-infamous visit to the hospital. Futhermore, she wrote, her mother's tumor was benign, and Battley is still alive and well.

"It didn't happen, so that was important for me to set the record straight. I think you'll continue to have people try to say it was true. It wasn't true," Cushman recently told supporters in Atlanta about the story. "I was one of the four so I think my story is valid and real since I was there."

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