Right wing blogs are abuzz tonight with news that Marianne Gingrich, Newt's second wife, has sat for an "explosive" two-hour interview with ABC that could very well end his career.
Speculation began earlier this afternoon when Matt Drudge put up his famous siren and the headline "Network Holds Bombshell Campaign Interview," and later updated it with "Civil War at ABC News." Finally, a little over an hour ago, Drudge gave up the goods:
NEWT EX-WIFE UNLOADS ON CAMERA; NETWORK DEBATES 'ETHICS' OF AIRING BEFORE SC PRIMARY
Wed Jan 18 2012 18:47:14 ET
Marianne Gingrich has said she could end her ex-husband's career with a single interview.
Earlier this week, she sat before ABCNEWS cameras, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.
She spoke to ABCNEWS reporter Brian Ross for two hours, and her explosive revelations are set to rock the trail.
But now a "civil war" has erupted inside of the network, an insider claims, on exactly when the confession will air
ABCNEWS suits determined it would be "unethical" to run the Marianne Gingrich interview so close to the South Carolina Primary, a curious decision, one insider argued, since the network has aggressively been reporting on other candidates.
A decision was tentatively made to air the interview next Monday, after all votes have been counted.
Gingrich canceled a press conference on Wednesday to deal with the matter.
Considering the source, this could turn out to be a big nothing. But according to mediaite, at least one reporter, Keach Hagey of Politico, has confirmed the story. Hagey tweeted earlier that : "A knowledgeable ABC source tells me it seems likely that the Marianne interview will run tomorrow."
I'm torn about this turn of events because I'd love to see the primary drag out for months, with Gingrich and Romney continuing to bloody each other up for the general. On the other hand, this interview could be good.
Sorry, for a short diary. I'll add more details if more become available.
UPDATE: As I type, Ed Schultz is reporting on this interview on his show.
UPDATE 2: More confirmation from The Daily Beast:
A knowledgeable insider says that Newt Gingrich’s second wife does not say anything in the taped interview with ABC News that she hasn’t said in previous print interviews. But to repeat her account of how their marriage failed—because the then-House speaker was having an affair—in a form that can be endlessly replayed on television could prove a serious distraction for the presidential candidate two days before the South Carolina primary.
The insider says ABC is weighing how to handle the Marianne interview with Brian Ross but that there’s a good chance it will run Thursday. Its existence first popped on the Drudge Report.
Marianne Gingrich has said that her husband asked for a divorce with a phone call when she was in Ohio to celebrate her mother’s 84th birthday, leaving her in tears. He informed her that he was having an affair with Callista Bisek, a House aide 23 years his junior—this while he was leading the drive to impeach Bill Clinton over his sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Bisek is now Gingrich's third wife.
UPDATE 3: AP now reporting interview will air Thursday during Nightline, just hours before the SC primary. Meanwhile, Newt's daughter has written a letter to ABC scolding them for airing the interview.
From the AP story:
ABC News interviewed Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich's second wife — with whom he's said he has no relationship — and is likely to air the segment Thursday on "Nightline," an ABC News executive told The Associated Press.
That's two days before the South Carolina primary, where the former House speaker is trying to topple GOP front-runner Mitt Romney by casting himself as the more conservative option.
The ABC News executive did not indicate what the ex-wife, Marianne Gingrich, said in the interview. The executive spoke on the condition of anonymity because the plans for airing the interview were tentative.
The interview, should it air before Saturday's primary, would shine a spotlight on a part of Gingrich's past that could turn off Republican voters in a state filled with religious and cultural conservatives who may cringe at Gingrich's two divorces and acknowledged infidelity
UPDATE 4: The NYT's Brian Stelter tweets: "ABC spokesman confirms: Marianne Gingrich interview WILL air Thur on 'Nightline.' Excerpts to be released earlier, i.e. before CNN debate."