How Newt Gingrich is Winning Over Republican Women

Politics & Views 18

Newt GingrichLast week, I had the chance to talk to Leslie Bennetts about candidates and infidelity for a piece she wrote for The Daily Beast (Newsweek's Internet counterpart).

I was excited about the conversation because as a longtime fan of Vanity Fair, I've been reading Leslie Bennetts' reporting forever. To my delight, we had a great long chat that covered everything from whether stay-at-home moms are more likely to put up with a husband's affair than working moms (My opinion? Definitely.) to whether or not Herman Cain's wife, Gloria, had to have known about Ginger White (I say no).

The meat of Leslie's story, though, concerned what I had to say about Newt Gingrich. Unlike Herman Cain, whose alleged sexual shenanigans brought his campaign to a halt, Newt's doing well with Iowa's female social conservatives, despite his checkered past. Here's why.

Recently, Newt Gingrich has made a point of publicly apologizing for the mistakes in his past -- and his humbleness seems to be having an impact. During the Thanksgiving Family Forum a few weeks ago (which CafeMom covered in depth), Gingrich said that there was a time in his life when he felt hollow inside. After that, he said, he began reading his Bible and decided to refocus his life on God and to seek forgiveness for his mistakes.

Regardless of what you or I think of these claims, the fact is that the Iowa moms in the audience bought Gingrich's story, hook, line and sinker. I talked to a focus group of 30 moms who had been in the audience for the forum and they were absolutely swooning over Newt afterward -- and many of these women said they had been supporters of other candidates before watching Newt Gingrich during the forum, so his words were obviously very persuasive.

I was surprised that he managed to have so much of an impact on female social conservatives -- they're the voters one would think would never be able to forgive Newt Gingrich for his past -- but the women all spoke of how smart he was (if you've never seen him speak, Gingrich peppers his comments with historical references -- you feel like you're being lectured to by a college professor), and how they loved seeing his "sensitive side" during the forum. Hearing that he had repented for his sins and turned to God was all they needed to hear to give him their support.

Interesting, isn't it?

Gingrich knows this strategy is working, too. Expect to see a kinder, gentler Newt this election cycle -- As it turns out, 'smart and sensitive' may well be a winning combination when it comes to winning the Republican women's vote.


Image via American Solutions/Flickr

2012 election


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hippi... hippiemom04

This Iowa mother will not be voting for him. He's a bad man!

Queen... QueenJessD

He has my vote from Texas!!

nonmember avatar Janak63

Any woman who gets excited to vote for a man who asked his former wife for a divoce as she lay in the hospital dying of cancer, is just as hollow inside as Newt.

hotic... hoticedcoffee

Newt didn't ask for a divorce as his wife lay dying of cancer.  Newt's daughter has clarified the story - the couple was separated and were intending to divorce prior to the wife's surgery; when they visited the hospital, she was not dying - she was recovering from surgery to remove a benign tumor; Newt accompanied his daughter's to the hospital so they could visit their mother.

I'm still undecided on voting, but Newt has been very impressive in the debates - he's definitely on my short list.

bills... billsfan1104

Ty Hot for posting that. Too bad the left doesn't get their facts straight on that.

nonmember avatar Janak63

@billsfan1104: If you are refering to me then you should follow your own advice. And you should be a good example of a conservative and be wise in what you say, never assume. I AM NOT from the left. I'm a republican just like you. So don't be so stupid.

bills... billsfan1104

Janaka, did I address you? I didn't, because if I was and I was going to say something about what you said, I would of mentioned your your name. I didn't, so I wasn't talking about you. Why are you calling me stupid? You are the one that made the assumption, I was directing my comment towards you.

Linds... LindsayFerrier

Thanks for adding that, hoticedcoffee. I just watched an interview with Newt's daughter on MSNBC and the reporter also gave the true version of events according to his daughter. I do think it's telling that Newt and his kids are on good terms-- Clearly amends have been made (if there were any to be made in the first place) or they wouldn't be speaking out on his behalf.

bills... billsfan1104

Lindsay, from what I understand the daughter that gave that interview also asked her Mom's permission to tell the story. So it seems to me, that there is mutual respect all around in that family. 

Fancy... Fancy-Schmancy

Okay, so even if the story about how Newt took his legal pad to the hospital to discuss divorce terms isn't 100% accurate...does this change the fact that he was cheating on her?  That he cheated on his next wife -- whom he divorced (quelle coincidence!) shortly after her MS diagnosis? That he made naked power grabs while Speaker and was nearly deposed by his own people for it?  That he had more ethics charges than any other Speaker? That he pursued a president for infidelity (I know, I was *perjury*) while involved in a 6 year affair of his own? 

He changes religions as often as he changes wives...has a hugely overinflated image of himself as a 'transformational figure'...plays fast and loose with ethical rules...and expects everyone to stand in awe of an intellect that is broad but exceptionally shallow.  Oh, and he thinks poor children should clean up after wealthier ones while he hauls judges off to the hoosegow if he doesn't agree with their rulings.

Vote Perry, vote Romney, heck, vote Paul....but stay away from Gingrich.

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