Gawker wonders :: ’Did Newt Gingrich Out Brit Hume’s Dead Gay Son?’

by Robert Nesti

EDGE National Arts & Entertainment Editor

Thursday January 19, 2012

With the Presidential primary race headed to Florida, Newt Gingrich is receiving unusual scrutiny in that state's local press. Yesterday a story in the Miami Herald added a new wrinkle to an old Washington story that puts the Presidential candidate in a bad light.

What prompted it was a media conference call that was to feature a pair of Romney surrogates: former Rep. Susan Molinari and former Sen. Jim Talent.

Molinari has both a professional and personal dislike for Gingrich. Her professional opinion of the former speaker can be found in her book "Representative Mom: Balancing Budgets, Bill and Baby in the U.S. Congress," in which she described him as being "Incredibly smart and pragmatic, he is at his best when he is building a team. He is at his worst and most self-destructive when he swells with his own sense of invulnerability and moves to the front and center."

This personal distaste may have something to do with a scandal that involved a group of House reps that attempted to unseat Gingrich in 1997, one of which was Molinari’s then-husband, New York Republican and House representative Bill Paxon.

Gawker summarized it earlier today: "The rumor, in brief, is as follows: In the summer of 1997, the Hill’s Sandy Hume - the then-28-year-old son of Fox News’ Brit Hume - broke a blockbuster story about four GOP congressman who plotted, and failed, to overthrow Newt Gingrich as Speaker. One of those men was Bill Paxon, a New York Republican who was married to fellow Congresswoman Susan Molinari. Another of the plotters, Majority Leader Dick Armey, scuttled the coup when he learned that Paxon, and not he, would replace Gingrich. Armey later disavowed the whole attempt and claimed not to have been involved.

"A few months later, in February 1998, Paxon launched an attempt to unseat Armey from his leadership position. Just days later, Sandy Hume killed himself with a gunshot to the head. Just days after that, Paxon suddenly and inexplicably resigned and never returned to public life. Almost immediately, rumors began flying that Hume and Paxon had been having an affair, and that Armey had threatened to out them. Hence the suicide and the sudden resignation."

How does Gingrich fit into this story? The Miami Herald’s Marc Caputo wrote on Wednesday: "About the same time, rumors surfaced that Hume and Paxon had been involved in a a gay affair. Some (namely MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough) blamed Armey for leaking the information to stop Paxon. Some blamed Gingrich, since he benefitted most. Some blamed them both for the rumor.

According to the Herald, "because South Florida is New York’s sixth borough, word of the Paxon-Gingrich-Hume imbroglia has been the subject of whispers by some political operatives tied to the Empire State (Paxon was a Buffalo rep.)."

Gawker concludes: "If true, of course, Gingrich’s role in Sandy Hume’s suicide is likely the cause of some behind-the-scenes agita at Fox News, where Sandy’s father is an emeritus anchor and still a frequent on-screen analyst. The GOP field seems increasingly to be narrowing down to Mitt Romney versus the guy who may have caused one of Fox’s most beloved on-air personalities to suffer a personal tragedy beyond measure."

With Gingrich’s second wife Marianne speaking out about her failed marriage with the Presidential candidate, this story may just get lost in the news cycle. Whether it has legs or not remains to be seen.

Robert Nesti can be reached at [email protected].