Washington Watch Roundtable: Gingrich And His Wives, Did The GOP Forget They Are The Party Of Family Values? (VIDEO)

Roland Martin and the Washington Watch roundtable discuss the GOP presidential race, Gingrich’s attack on the media, infidelity and has the GOP forgotten that they are the party of family values?

This week’s roundtable features Sophia Nelson, Cynthia Gordy, Joe Madison, and George Curry.

MR. MARTIN:  [A] whole lot to discuss this week, folks, in the roundtable.  My panel:  Sophia Nelson, author of Black Woman Redefined; syndicated columnist George Curry; Cynthia Gordy — she is the Washington reporter for theroot.com, wearing her Alpha black and gold; and Sirius –


MR. MARTIN:  — XM Radio’s “Black Eagle,” Joe Madison, lookin’ all dapper an’ everything with the lavender.

All right, then.  Let’s get right into it.

Politics, South Carolina, Republicans – absolutely crazy week.  I – I can’t recall the last time you saw such a crazy week, with Rick Perry dropping out on Thursday, endorsing Newt; Newt’s ex-wife coming out with the freak-’em discussion –


MR. MARTIN:  — you name it.

But I want to start off with, though, the exchange that took place at the CNN debate on Thursday in Charleston – I was there – when the first question out of the box from John King to Newt Gingrich about his wife’s comments to ABC “Nightline.”  Here is Newt’s response.


MR. NEWT GINGRICH:  I think – I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office; and I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate –


MR. GINGRICH:  — with a topic like that.


MR. JOHN KING:  Is that all you want to say, sir?

MR. GINGRICH:  Let me finish.

MR. KING:  Please.


MR. GINGRICH:  Every person in here knows personal pain.  Every person in here has had someone close to them go through painful things.  To take an ex-wife and make it, two days before the primary, a significant question in a presidential campaign is as close to despicable as anything I can imagine.



MR. MARTIN:  All right.  A couple of things.  First of all, “close to despicable [as] anything I can imagine.”  How about cheating on your first wife and your second wife [for] despicable?


MR. MARTIN:  But secondly, what got me was this audience stands up, gives him that kind of applause.  I thought this was “the party of family values.”  I thought this was South Carolina, and we’re in the Bible Belt.  Did they sort of forget that?

MS. NELSON:  Roland, that’s exactly right.  I worked on Capitol Hill when Newt Gingrich was Speaker, and they were impeaching Bill Clinton, and everyone knew he was having an affair with his now-wife.  I – I’m not saying anything that’s not public knowledge.

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

MS. NELSON:  Everyone knew this was going on, and part of the reason he had to step down the way he did so abruptly was because it was a coup, as Rick Santorum alluded to.  Bill Paxton and all of them got wiped out.

So, my point is – is that there’s hypocrisy.  You’ve seen it with Vitter.  You’ve seen it with – who was the boy down in South Carolina – the governor that had –

MR. MARTIN:  Yeah, Mark –

MS. NELSON:  — the mistress in –

MR. MARTIN:  — Sanford –

MS. NELSON:  — Mark Sanford.

MR. MARTIN:  — Gov. Mark Sanford.

MS. NELSON:  You’ve got – and these were the guys – “The Brotherhood,” or whatever they call themselves.  You know what I’m talking about?  They had the –

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

MS. NELSON:  — place on C Street, the –

MR. MARTIN:  All the “prayer warriors” –

MS. NELSON:  — conservatives.

MR. MARTIN:  — yeah.

MS. NELSON:  The prayer guys – they’re the ones that cheat on their wives.  They’re hypocrites.  And John King had a legitimate right to ask that question, and I was dismayed that he kind of was like a puppy and let Newt whip on him like that.

MR. MARTIN:  But what got me was the crowd, again, somehow – what happened to the “family values party”?

MR. GEORGE CURRY:  Well, look.  Look, that – first of all, picking on the media will get you applause like –

MR. MARTIN:  Always.

MR. CURRY:  — like – at any


MR. CURRY:  — convention.

MR. MARTIN:  Do- — doesn’t matter.

MR. CURRY:  And – but I think it’s incumbent upon John King – and I think a lot of these debate moderators are doing a terrible job in pushing back.  You know, you – you – first of all, they don’t answer the questions.  Then they want to redefine the questions.  Look, what’s despicable and abhorrent is here he was, married, w- — wife with a – a chronic –

MS. NELSON:  Cancer.

MR. CURRY:  — disease.

MS. NELSON:  Cancer.

MR. CURRY:  And then he ch- — he cheats with a mistress, marries the mistress and then get get[s] another mistress and marr[ies] her.  Now, that’s what’s despicable.  And the question is not whether his personal life should be an issue here.  He’s not running for Sunday school superintendent.  He’s running for President of the United States, and that’s when judgment counts.

MR. MARTIN:  Cynthia.

MS. GORDY:  And I think the response is typical Newt, and I think CNN probably should’ve expected that sort of –

MR. MARTIN:  Of course!

MS. GORDY:  — response.

MR. MARTIN:  I mean, look.  [The] bottom line is everybody knows – I call him “Chucky.”  You know, what – you know –

MS. GORDY:  [Laughs.]


MR. MARTIN:  — you know the c- — the character in the horror films?  ’Cause when he gets mad, he looks like Chucky.  And so he w- — he – he has risen in the polls because he has attacked the media –

MS. GORDY:  Right.

MR. MARTIN:  — and that always plays well.

MS. GORDY:  And I think it w- — it’s not just that he attacked the media.  I mean he was really – really successful at redirecting conversation to be about the liberal media attacking Republicans; and when his base hears that, they’re going to, of course, eat that right up.

MR. MARTIN:  And, of course, Joe, if you don’t cheat on your wife, there’s no question.

MR. MADISON:  Well, I guess not, but understand what he did.  This was a – a man who went to his first wife when she was dying of cancer –

MS. NELSON:  Um-hum.

MR. MADISON:  — and said he wanted a divorce.  And she’s already under stress, as anyone knows.  The second wife had MS –

MR. CURRY:  Yep.

MR. MADISON:  — and was told by the doctor she could not have stress in her life, and he – at the same time, he asked the second wife.  Now –

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

MR. MADISON:  — the third wife [had] better be careful that she doesn’t get sick –

MR. MARTIN:  [Chuckles.]

MS. NELSON:  Well –

MR. MADISON:  — because that’s going to – tha- — and that’s –

MS. NELSON:  — well, she’s –

MR. MADISON:  — exactly –

MS. NELSON:  — young, so she –

MR. MADISON:  — but – but –

MS. NELSON:  — can –

MR. MADISON:  — it doesn’t make any difference.  That’s exactly what happened.

Look.  We all know that he was prepped for that question.

MR. MARTIN:  Of course.

MR. MADISON:  The world knew that that was going to be the first question out of the box, and that was a contrived answer.

MR. CURRY:  No question about it.

MR. MADISON:  Simple as that.

MR. MARTIN:  No- — and I’ll –

MR. CURRY:  No –

MR. MARTIN:  — tell you right now, okay, ’cause, first of all, you –

MR. CURRY:  [Coughs.]

MR. MARTIN:  — [unintelligible] – what’s happening in the polls and everything.  I don’t care what anybody says.  Flat-out, he is going to have a problem when it comes to women voters, because women –

MS. NELSON:  — absolutely.

MR. MARTIN:  — are sitting there, saying – and, look.  People – everybody gets Christianity and forgiveness, but there’s a difference between saying, “I can forgive you for what you did, but I cannot forget your character and your decision making in a so-called ‘leadership position.’”

MR. MADISON:  Roland, what I don’t really understand – I – [chuckles] – said it t- — I said earlier this week.  I mean it’s not like Newt Gingrich looks like, uh –

MR. MARTIN:  George Clooney.

MR. MADISON:  — George Clooney, and it’s not like Herman Cain looks like Denzel.

MR. MARTIN:  [Chuckles.]

MR. MADISON:  I mean –

MS. GORDY:  [Laughs.]

MR. MADISON:  — [chuckles] – I guess it’s the power that is the –


MR. MADISON:  — aphrodisiac here, but – but the reality is they’re the ones that make it a political issue.

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

MR. MADISON:  You know, they‘re the ones that make it public policy.  Now, once it’s public policy –

MS. NELSON:  Um-hum!

MR. MADISON:  — and it becomes a debate, it now becomes fair game.

MR. MARTIN:  Right!  And that’s – and tha- — and that’s my whole position.  That is, when you want to make it about family values, and you want to make it about – and remember, Cynthia, when G- — Gingrich was there, he called Clinton and Gore –

MR. MADISON:  “Immoral”!

MR. MARTIN:  — morally corrupt and –


MR. MARTIN:  — immoral –

MS. NELSON:  Yeah.

MR. MARTIN:  — and all those different things, and I’m –

MS. NELSON:  While he was –

MR. MARTIN:  — sitting there, going –

MS. NELSON:  — sleeping with that girl.

MR. MARTIN:  — “While you were telling your wife,” you know, “I love you, while your mistress is in” –

MS. GORDY:  Yes.  I mean –

MR. MARTIN:  — “y’all[’s] apartment.”

MS. GORDY:  — I think – I think we can talk about all the hypocrisy that there is in this situation, but I – I really just don’t think it’s going to really affect his campaign too much.  I think to the extent –

MS. NELSON:  [Crosstalk.]

MS. GORDY:  — that he’s able to always spin this as an attack on conservatives, then that’s going to be –

MS. NELSON:  And he’s –

MS. GORDY:  — his line.

MR. MARTIN:  Hold ti- —

MS. NELSON:  — blamed it on –

MR. MARTIN:  — hold tight.  One second.

MS. NELSON:  — Pres. Obama!

MR. MARTIN:  Hold tight one second.  I[’ve] got to go to a break right now.  When we come back, I want to pick up on that, but also get into the issue of code language; and, of course that came up when Juan Williams asked him a question in the Fox debate earlier this week.   So, folks, hold tight.