Newt Gingrich took a quick break from the campaign trail in Iowa on Wednesday to sit down with Chuck Todd for a wide-ranging interview that touched on his negative attacks, his slipping status in the polls and at the tense end, his failed marriages.
"What is your relationship with your ex-wives?" Todd asked.
"With my first wife we have a relationship because we share two daughters and two grandchildren," Gingrich said. "I think it is very respectful on both sides, she has been a very good mother and very good grandmother and I am very concerned for her as a person. And I have tried to deal frankly with a lot of these personal questions without in any way intruding into her personal life."
Todd ventured, "And your second wife--"
"We don't have a relationship," Gingrich interrupted.
Plagued by rumors that he served his first wife, Jackie Battley, with divorce papers while she was hospitalized with cancer, Newt has claimed that it was actually Battley who requested the divorce. Newly uncovered court documents suggest otherwise. Battley is the ex-wife with whom he remains friendly.
Gingrich began a relationship with his second wife, Marianne Ginther, while married to Battley, and took up with his current wife, Callista Gingrich, before divorcing Ginther.
Marital fidelity became a hot-button campaign issue as Gingrich surged to the top of the polls earlier this month. Under pressure from Iowa evangelicals, Gingrich submitted a "signing statement" to a controversial marriage pledge, vowing to remain faithful to Callista.