Gingrich was asked by Isabel Friedman, president of the Penn Democrats, how he can "reconcile" the "religious values that you so vigorously defend" with his own personal history. As Politico reports, Friedman noted that Gingrich "admitted to having an affair with your current wife while you were still married to your second."
As you can see in the video, shot by a member of the audience, a peeved-sounding Gingrich tried to cut Friedman off, stating, "I'll bet almost everybody here can gather the thrust of your question...I hope you feel better about yourself."
The former speaker eventually addressed the question, however:
"I will be totally candid. I've had a life which, on occasion, has had problems," he said. "I believe in a forgiving God, and the American people will have to decide whether that's their primary concern."
"If the primary concern of the American people is my past, my candidacy would be irrelevant," Gingrich continued. He went on to say that he is "happy" to have a debate about the future.
Gingrich has admitted he conducted an extramarital affair at the same time he was one of the GOP's most vocal critics of then-President Clinton for his involvement with Monica Lewinsky. "There are times that I have fallen short of my own standards," he said in 2007. "There's certainly times when I've fallen short of God's standards." Gingrich said at the time there was a difference between his conduct and Mr. Clinton's because Mr. Clinton had perjured himself.
Gingrich is now married to the woman with whom he had that affair, Callista Bisek, a former congressional aide 20 years his junior. Gingrich divorced his first wife, Jackie Battley, in 1981; according to Battley, Gingrich discussed the divorce with her while she was in the hospital recovering following cancer surgery. His second wife, Marianne Gingrich, says Gingrich asked her to marry him before he divorced Battley.