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13 Reasons Why Newt Gingrich Won't Win the Nomination

Here, in 13 episodes, is much of the baggage you're likely to see aired soon in anti-Gingrich attack ads.
 
 
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 The following article first appeared in  Mother Jones. For more great content from Mother Jones, sign up for free email updates  here. 

Newt Gingrich is flying high. The former Speaker of the House has rocketed to the top of the Republican polls, taking a 30-point lead in Florida and giving one-time GOP front-runner Mitt Romney a run for his money in New Hampshire. What's more, the competition around him seems to be collapsing. Herman Cain is history; Romney has slowly but steadily lost support nationwide; Rick Perry is still making fun of himself for a gaffe everyone else stopped talking about last month; Michele Bachmann fell in a crowded primary forest and never made a sound. Gingrich, for one, is ready to declare victory. As he told ABC's Jake Tapper on Thursday, " I'm going to be the nominee."

Well, Gingrich may be on a roll, but he's overlooking the one truly formidable candidate who stands between him and the nomination: Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. He is in many ways the perfect foil for the current GOP front runner. Here, in 13 episodes, is much of the baggage you're likely to see aired soon in anti-Gingrich attack ads. For him, it won't be Christmas in Iowa.

The front seat: It’s a testament to Herman Cain’s utterly catastrophic collapse that Gingrich has emerged as a palatable alternative for family-values conservatives. But it won’t last. Gingrich had a six-year affair with his third wife while he was still married to his second. He had an affair with his second wife while he was still married to his first wife. And as we previously reported, during his 1974 campaign, a former aide described "approaching a car with Gingrich's daughters in hand, only to find the candidate with a woman, her head buried in his lap." Another former aide alleged that Gingrich had attempted to seduce her, Chaz Reinhold-style, after the death of a relative.

The back seat: On the flight back from Yitzhak Rabin’s funeral in Israel in November 1995, Gingrich was asked to sit in the back of Air Force One, rather than up front with President Clinton. As a result, Gingrich upped his demands in the budget fight, leading to a historic government shutdown. "It's petty, but I think it's human,” Gingrich explained at the time. The  New York Daily News put Gingrich on its cover dressed in a diaper, holding a bottle and crying.

 

Newt Gingrich's complaint about sitting in the back seat of Air Force One did not sit well with the New York Daily News. Yes, that's a milk bottle.: Courtesy of the New York Daily NewsNewt's complaint about sitting in the back seat of Air Force One did not sit well with the New York tabloids. Yes, that's a milk bottle.: Courtesy of the New York Daily News

The Couch: Have you seen  the advertisement in which Newt sits in a love seat with Nancy Pelosi, on behalf of Al Gore’s non-profit, to call for Congress to take action on climate change? Well, you will—Rep. Ron Paul has  already featured the clip in an online ad. Although he maintained at the time that "our country must take action to prevent climate change," Gingrich now says he doesn’t think the science is settled and it's not the government’s role to involve itself with climate change.

He calls the ad his single biggest regret in life. Which brings us to…

The hospital bed: In some ways, the fact,  first reported in  MoJo, that Gingrich hammered out the details of his first divorce while his wife was in the hospital recovering from cancer isn’t even the most damaging revelation from that story. But it's certainly damaging. One longtime Gingrich aide recalled: "Newt came up there with his yellow legal pad, and he had a list of things on how the divorce was going to be handled. He wanted her to sign it. She was still recovering from surgery, still sort of out of it, and he comes in with a yellow sheet of paper, handwritten, and wants her to sign it." It's a damaging enough story that he felt compelled to mention it in his new fight-the-smears, site, "Answering the Attacks."

 
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