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Newt Gingrich says Trey Radel deserves forgiveness

By on December 1, 2013
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U.S. Rep. Trey Radel should have a shot at redemption, particularly during the holiday season, so says the expert at seeking public forgiveness – former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

“I think that there is a tendency, first of all, for people to have (Radel’s) family in their prayers. It’s Thanksgiving and Christmas season,” Gingrich told Jessica Lipscomb of the Naples Daily News. Gingrich and his wife Callista were in Naples promoting his new book Breakout.

Radel, a Republican from Fort Meyers, recently entered a Naples treatment facility after pleading guilty to cocaine possession.

“Does he come out of rehab genuinely changed or is it all a gimmick? If it’s a gimmick, he won’t survive,” Gingrich told the Daily News. “The example we had with (former U.S. congressman Anthony) Weiner in New York is that people will forgive you once. They won’t forgive you twice.”

Speaking to the press Saturday during a Barnes and Noble book-signing event at Waterside Shops, Gingrich discussed several South Florida issues, such as Radel and Charlie Crist’s campaign for governor.

Gingrich mocked the former governor’s transition from Republican to Democrat, facetiously saying, “Maybe he’ll have Reagan Tuesdays and Obama Wednesdays in the governor’s office.”

“I have been absolutely amazed at his ability to pursue his own self-interests without regard for anything else,” Gingrich told reporters.

As for his opinion of Radel, the former 2012 GOP presidential candidate has learned a thing or two about public redemption.

Gingrich was blamed for a limited federal shutdown in the mid-1990s; he also had a series of extra-marital affairs. Additionally, the House reprimanded him for lying to an ethics panel, as well as violating federal tax laws.