GOP Sen. Tom Coburn Says Newt Gingrich "Last Person" He'd Support for President

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington on Saturday Feb. 20, 2010. AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington on Saturday Feb. 20, 2010.
AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Updated 2:54 p.m. Eastern Time

Conservative Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn said Friday that Newt Gingrich is "the last person I'd vote for for president of the United States" because "[h]is life indicates he does not have a commitment to the character traits necessary to be a great president," according to the Tulsa World.

Coburn said specifically that while Gingrich is "super smart," he "doesn't know anything about commitment to marriage."

Gingrich, the former House speaker, has encouraged speculation that he will run for the Republican nomination for president in 2012. One possible stumbling block to such a run could be his personal life.

In 2007, Gingrich acknowledged in a radio interview with Focus on the Family's James Dobson that he cheated on both his first and second wives.

"I look back on those as periods of weakness and periods that I'm not only not proud of, but I would deeply urge my children and grandchildren not to follow in my footsteps," he said then.

Gingrich's first wife, Jackie Battley, has said he discussed the details of their divorce while she was recovering from cancer surgery in the hospital. His second wife, Marianne Gingrich, recently told Esquire that Gingrich "believes that what he says in public and how he lives don't have to be connected."

In the Dobson interview, Gingrich admitted he cheated on Marianne Gingrich during the impeachment hearings of former president Bill Clinton stemming from Mr. Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky.

Gingrich often criticized Democrats for what he cast as moral failings during his political career, saying in 1992, for example, "Woody Allen having nonincest with a nondaughter to whom he was a nonfather because they were a nonfamily fits the Democratic platform perfectly."

Gingrich married his third wife, 44-year-old former congressional aide Callista Louise Gingrich, in 2000. He joked earlier this year that she "likes being in Iowa and it's very possible she'll be spending a lot of time in Iowa," a reference to a possible presidential run.

Gingrich was in the news recently for comments comparing a planned Islamic cultural center two blocks from the former site of the World Trade Center to Nazis putting a sign up next to the Holocaust museum in Washington.

A spokesman said Gingrich had no comment in response to the remarks.

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