Newt Gingrich’s daughter, Jackie Gingrich Cushman, has been on a five-stop campaign in South Carolina’s upstate area to clear her father’s name for election in 2012.
As expected, she received the inevitable questions even from supporters about his infidelity. Cushman is the daughter of Newt Gingrich and his first wife, Jackie Battley, who was rumored to have been in the hospital recovering from cancer when Gingrich requested a divorce.
In a series of small question and answer events, Cushman clarifies what she calls “misinformation” regarding her father.
When asked by a supporter how the former Speaker of the House handles the scrutiny regarding his public infidelities, she answers, “Most families have gone through terrible things, whether it’s divorce or tragedy. That’s life,” reports MSNBC. “We’ve healed, we’ve reconciled.”
Her explanations become more detailed when she explains what actually happened between her parents, who divorced when she was just 13. In an opinioned piece, Cushman said the divorce was already in progress, while her mother was simply having a benign tumor removed.
During her campaign chats, Cushman uses anecdotes to answer questions regarding her father’s sordid history, one being of a woman who told her she had heard the hospital story and thought Cushman’s mother was deceased. “Because she had heard these terrible rumors on the Internet which are not true, she assumed that my mother must be dead,” Cushman said.
In another anecdote, Cushman explains a time when her father and then-boyfriend, Jimmy Cushman, met for the first time, at a bar. Cushman said she heard one man say to another at the bar, “There’s Newt Gingrich. I heard he abandoned his wife and children.”
“I felt compelled to turn around and explain to this guy that that was not true,” Cushman told supporters at a cocktail party in Greenville. “And I almost felt bad for him because obviously he was shocked and terribly embarrassed.”
Cushman’s goal is not only to express how repentant her father is for his past mistakes, but to demonstrate how he has changed. She added that his faith has become deeper as he has had to rely on it during times of the worst media scrutiny, and he is more cheerful and optimistic because of it.
Cushman directed supporters to a website, Newt.org, which addresses personal and political controversies surrounding her father including his infidelity and support of abolishing all courts.
Recent news reports on CNN and MSNBC have shown that Gingrich has fallen in the polls from his top spot as Republican candidate in the 2012 election.