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Newt Gingrich

U.S. Representative

Born: 17 June 1943
Birthplace: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Best known as:

Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1995-1999

Name at birth: Newton Leroy McPherson

 

Newt Gingrich was the Speaker of the House of Representatives and one of the key leaders of the so-called Republican Revolution of the 1990s. A former professor of history at West Georgia College, Newt Gingrich was elected in 1979 to the U.S. House of Representatives. Ambitious, conservative and outspoken, he rose through the ranks until he became the de facto leader of the Republican Party and then Speaker of the House in 1995. He was widely considered responsible for gaining a Republican majority in the House of Representatives in the election of 1994, and he was a leading critic of Democratic President Bill Clinton. Always in the news but never exactly beloved by the public at large, Gingrich saw his image further damaged in 1997 when he was fined $300,000 for ethics violations. After a disappointing Republican showing in the 1998 election, Gingrich resigned the Speakership and his seat in Congress. He was succeeded as Speaker by Illinois representative Dennis Hastert. Out of office, Newt Gingrich turned consultant, author and political pundit, and has been expert at keeping his name in the headlines despite not holding an elected position. He announced in May of 2011 that he would seek the 2012 Republican nomination for president. His campaign got a boost when he won the GOP's South Carolina primary on January 21, 2012, earning 40.4% of the vote to Mitt Romney's 27.8%.

Extra credit:

Newt Gingrich graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in 1965, then got an M.A. (1968) and a PhD (1971) from Tulane University... Newt Gingrich has been married three times. He married the former Jackie Battley in 1962; they met while he was a high school student and she was his geometry teacher. They had two daughters, Kathy and Jackie. The couple were divorced in 1980, the same year that Battley had surgery for a uterine tumor. Newt Gingrich married Marianne Ginther in 1981, six months after his divorce from Battley; they, too, were divorced in 1999. Gingrich then married Callista Bisek, a Congressional aide, in 2000; Gingrich later admitted that he carried on an affair with Bisek for several years in the 1990s while he was married to Ginther... Newt Gingrich was bitten on the chin by a baby cougar during a 1995 appearance with TV host and zoologist Jack Hanna.

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