Overheard on CNN.com: Do Gingrich's divorces, Paul's newsletters matter?
Readers are debating how Newt Gingrich's past impacts his current GOP candidacy.
December 26th, 2011
07:29 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Do Gingrich's divorces, Paul's newsletters matter?

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

The GOP candidacy saga continues in the days leading up to the Iowa caucuses on January 3. Current conversation is centering on two men: Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul. Readers have been talking up a storm about recent CNN stories about both candidates.

Newly recovered court files cast doubt on Gingrich version of first divorce

Newt Gingrich claims his first wife wanted their divorce in 1980, but court documents obtained by CNN appear to show something different. Readers debated the importance of divorce in the presidency, with a large percentage of readers saying Gingrich's baggage makes him difficult to elect.

bzscorpio: "Even if Newt wasn't lying about his first wife wanting the divorce, the real issue here is that the man who wants to appeal to 'family values' voters has had two marriages end because of his infidelity. The guy is just a total scumbag."

There were also a lot of readers who thought commenters were being too judgmental of Gingrich.

cosaslo: "I must say, if you haven't been through one (divorce) you should keep your traps shut and your ideas to yourself. For those of us who have, what I can say is Newt, glad to see ya. The stuff they are throwing at you now ain't nothin'."

The comparisons to former President Bill Clinton did come.

obamamentor: "Let me get this right: Newt was trying to impeach a president for doing what Newt was doing also at the same time."

boblawbla: "I don't recall reading any stories of Newt Gingrich getting (oral sex) from an intern in the Oval Office and then lying about it. So much for that character thing everyone seems to be focused on."

Some said they were fed up with politicians on both sides.

StoneTools: "I can't, for the life of me, understand how anyone can run for political office or re-election with the baggage that these politicians carry with them. This includes Democrats, Republicans, independents, etc. The list of them is so long, it's not worth repeating here."

calmncool: "They are counting of a lot of really stupid voters."

What do you think? Can Gingrich become the GOP nominee? Share your thoughts on video via CNN iReport and post a comment below.

But let's not forget about Ron Paul, who also was the subject of thousands of comments on CNN.com. Conservative commentator David Frum wrote an opinion piece examining the roots of the candidate's devoted following, taking a look back at some controversial newsletters published under Paul's name back in the 1990s.

Ron Paul: Codger, crank or more?

Frum asserts that Paul "was ready to exploit the even greater racism and extremism of others for financial gain," and our commenters had plenty to say in response. Many were outraged:

Tempesttt: "If gullible people didn't take this tripe seriously, I'd be laughing about it. It's funny that the best they can do to tarnish Ron Paul's name is pull up some old newsletter from almost 20 years ago that he didn't even write nor endorse. The more the media hates on Ron Paul, the more I am convinced that he's the man I want to be the next president of the United States."

Readers debated the significance of newsletters written so long ago.

timjayko: "Ron Paul did not write those newsletters, nor does he agree with them. Take a look at Newt Gingrich's track record. You could write a whole friggin' book on his slimy history. Or Romney's flip-flopping policies. Could make a waffle breakfast for hundreds with this changes on political stances throughout the years."

nsinex: "If he didnt write them, he let people he trusted write them. If people he trusted had those views, he couldn't have thought their views were too far off."

PhillyEric: "What none of the Ron Paul defenders is willing to address is how his 'I didn't know the contents of the newsletters' defense is actually helpful. If you knew that there were newsletters being published with your name on them, wouldn't you verify that the contents reflected your views? Or wouldn't you at least take the time to find out who was writing them and what they stood for? All this defense argues is that he is so money-hungry or unprincipled that he didn't care what his name was being used for. I certainly haven't seen him offer to return the millions of dollars in profits."

But most simply disagreed with Frum.

narniaisboss: "I'm sorry, but whether or not you like Ron Paul, you have to admit that this is complete nonsense."

What do you think about these stories? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. BrooklynChick

    I'm Black and I support Ron Paul. He didn't write the racist remarks and he is not a white supremacist.

    The Newsletter quotes:
    One of the quotes said some really awful things about Martin Luther King Jr. If Ron Paul wrote these things, he wouldn't have voted TWICE to make Martin Luther King Jr. Day a national holiday, now would he have referred to King as a hero.

    Racist beliefs:
    White supremacists are simply not in the habit of pointing out the inherent bias against Blacks in military recruiting and our judicial system. It doesn't happen. Ron Paul is not one of them. Period.

    Btw, Newt Gingrich voted AGAINST making MLK Day a national holiday.

    December 27, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. gung hoe

    @jif you are totally correct we just had a huge discussion about reagon

    December 27, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. chrissy

    lol @ nicole, you arent gloating are you dear? And we could have alot of good conversation if we didnt have to deal with that nasty troll infestation going on! Have you checked the other threads recently? Go check the virginity testing one!

    December 27, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Audit the Fed

    A much bigger difference between the Newt and Mr. McGoo is that one of them would rather not see the federal reserve system located inside of our borders audited. Hint: he's the one with a 60 lb. colon.

    December 27, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. banasy©

    That, and Mr. Magoo is a cartoon character. Just saying.

    December 27, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dully

    Reagen divorced his wife to marry Nancy, was a great president. Bill Clington cheated on his wife, was a great president. Bush was a faithful husband to his only wife, was a terrible president. Newt Gingrich is a bright man, his personal relationships are irrelevant. He is a good dad, that should count for something! We are not all lucky the first time. I am the third wife of my husband, we've been together for eighteen years and are very happy. It says nothing about his abilities, If jusging by record, opinions, actions: Newt Gingrich is the best candidate in the US right now.

    December 27, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Newt is a philandering liar. You may not think that matters much, but I DO.

      December 30, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. queenbee

    Gingrich: Deadbeat dad who would not even support his kids, lied about his first divorce and was a serial adulterer with a penchant for his congressional aides....whose own party mutinied and got rid of him in 1996, who caused numerous government shut downs has changed the policies he supported (like the bail out and Obamacare and Romneycare) and had his own campaign staff walk out on him in 2011. Who did not even have enough sense to follow or know the rules for election in Virginia, who lied to the voters about having the signatures for the ballot and thought he could just write in.

    Who was hypocritical enough to prosecute and persecute a sitting President for the same acts he was engaged in within the same time period. THAT Newt?

    At least Ron Paul is more honest, has more integrity and is far more disciplined than Gingrich will EVER be and actually as an Independent, Paul passes the smell test–Gingrich does not even pass the gag reflex test.

    December 27, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Kofi

    I think PhillyEric got it right concerning Ron Paul-
    "If you knew that there were newsletters being published with your name on them, wouldn't you verify that the contents reflected your views?"
    Just put yourself in Pauls's situation. If you re collecting over a million dollars in revenues from a publication you would know about the content.of the publication. Obviously he knew about the content then. And obviously he is lying now.

    December 27, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  9. DjkrB

    Dear CNN:


    Your boards are the biggest joke in blogdom.

    Your “report abuse” button is apparently disabled, because nothing is ever done about the vitriolic and disgusting garbage that is posted here.

    These boards are now know as a safe haven for schoolchildren trolls who like potty humor.

    Please post a thread about feces and fetish s*e*x, because that is all that is ever posted anymore anyway.

    Perhaps this way, they will post on that thread, and leave the serious posters here alone.

    Why is it that the This Just In blog is like this, and not, say, the Political Ticker?

    The contempt that CNN shows its readers and posters by not moderating this blog is reprehensible.


    December 28, 2011 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
  10. mgginva

    Look here's a simple fact – most congressmen don't even read the bills they sign. If Dr. Paul says he was too busy – I believe him. Even McCain calls him the most honest man in Washington – a view held by virtually everyone that knows him. So if the only thing the establishment and main stream media – both desperate to hurt his credibility – can find is some 20 to 30 year old newsletters I'd just have to say "Let it go". Quite a few blacks have been standing up for him in the comment sections of negative articles and he is the most popular GOP candidate with the black community. They aren't gullible enough to fall for the tactics being used in an attempt to dupe them (and us) into believing Paul is racist – he just isn't. To compare Dr. Paul's credibility to Newt's is just a joke. Newt and Paul aren't even in the same universe. I'd trust Paul anywhere anytime. With the big headed crybaby who can't even get on his own state's ballot – I'd count my fingers if I ever had to shake his hand. Not something I'd want to do, by the way.

    December 28, 2011 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
  11. no.

    no. not really. unless there was something that falls way outside of normal...and stays there...not overly interesting.

    December 29, 2011 at 5:40 am | Report abuse |
  12. Ashley Barnett Smith

    Of course it matter. A president is a leader of the country. Leaders need to give a good example to everyone especially the young generation. Their moral values are very good lesson for them. Gingrich way of life is not.

    December 29, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Matt

    PAUL 2012! He's got this!

    December 30, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      He's got nuthin'. He should go back to birthin' babies, he's useless in Washington.

      December 30, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. €:^)

    Ron paul 2012 you got my vote ! Check out some of his videos on the net,or YouTube you just might change your mind about him.

    January 1, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. €:^)

    Guess Bob likes voting in people that take our rights away daily !

    January 1, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
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