Callista Gingrich: Newt's Downfall, or Secret Weapon?
Once part of his controversial past, now witness to his rehabbed reputation
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2011 7:10 AM CDT
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich arrives with his wife Callista Bisek at the Kennedy Center for the Kennedy Center Honors on December 7, 2008 in Washington, DC.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – More than a decade ago, Callista Bisek's six-year affair with the married Newt Gingrich played a big part in his political downfall. Now, married for 11 years and with Newt out of office since 1999, 45-year-old Callista Gingrich could play a large role in his presidential campaign. The New York Times offers a somewhat conflicting profile: While friends say she is ready for her husband to return to politics, the Gingriches themselves declined to be interviewed, and Callista Gingrich is described as lukewarm when asked about the subject during a recent public appearance.

Newt Gingrich has been rehabilitating his image after two divorces and acknowledged infidelity, casting himself as a recent convert to Catholicism who has found God and meeting with religious leaders to address the concerns social conservatives have about him. If Callista Gingrich "wants to be first lady," says the president of a conservative Catholic group, she'll have to address her relationship with Newt, something she has not yet done. Even so, she is already a large presence on her husband's website, at National Catholic Prayer Breakfasts and conservative political conferences, book signings, and documentary screenings. “They’re a great couple,” says Mrs. Gingrich's best friend and recently appointed chief of staff, “that had a nontraditional start.”