Newt on Huge Tiffany's Bill: I'm Mystified
'I owe no personal debts, none'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2011 2:31 AM CDT
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich gestures outside the studios for CBS-TV's "Face the Nation."   (AP Photo/CBS News Photo by Chris Usher)

(Newser) – Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich is "mystified" by media interest in his massive jewelry budget. Asked about financial disclosures that revealed he owed up to $500,000 to Tiffany's a few years ago, Gingrich told Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer to "go talk to Tiffany's." At a Christian Science Monitor-sponsored breakfast yesterday, the topic came up again. "On the Tiffany’s thing, I am totally mystified. I owe no personal debts, none."

"Callista and I have paid off our house, we have paid off our cars, we run four small businesses, we happen to be successful. We reported accurately what we are doing," he said. The real problem? We're a bunch of gossipmongers. "We are in a society in which gossip replaces serious policy and then everybody wrings their hand about how hard it is to have a serious conversation," Gingrich complained. "Anything is on the table, I accept that, but I don’t have to participate in the conversation. I can focus on what I think the American people need to worry about." (But Salon argues that Newt isn't as "frugal" as he seems; click to read.)