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Gingrich 'mystified' by media interest in his $500K jewelry budget (VIDEO)

When asked about coverage of candidates' personal lives, Newt Gingrich first referred to society’s preoccupation with gossip and then said he was 'mystified' by interest in his jewelry credit account.

Former House Speaker and current presidential candidate Newt Gingrich at a Monitor-sponsored breakfast for reporters in Washington, on May 23.

Michael Bonfigli / The Christian Science Monitor

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Which matters from a candidate’s personal life can the press report on without engaging in “gotcha” behavior?, presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich was asked Monday.

For Gingrich, the topic is a sensitive one. He is hoping to appeal to conservative voters but has been married three times.

He brands himself as a fiscal conservative, but last week Politico reported that Gingrich and his wife, Callista, had a credit account at the luxury jewelry firm Tiffany & Co. with a balance of between $250,000 and $500,000 during calendar years 2005 and 2006.

Speaking at a Monitor-sponsored breakfast for reporters in Washington, Gingrich first referred to society’s preoccupation with gossip and then said he was “mystified” by interest in the jewelry account.

“If you looked at the front page of The New York Times (Sunday) which devoted, I believe, one quarter of the front page to Lindsay Lohan above the fold, it should tell you all you need to know about the current state of where we are. 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 said.

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