Callista Gingrich, October 2007
|Born||Callista Louise Bisek
March 4, 1966
Whitehall, Wisconsin, U.S.
|Alma mater||Luther College (Iowa)|
|Occupation||President of Gingrich Productions|
|Spouse(s)||Newt Gingrich (m. 2000)|
Callista Louise Gingrich (née Bisek; born March 4, 1966) is the President of Gingrich Productions. She is married to former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and 2012 Republican Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.
Callista Louise Bisek, known as "Cally Lou" to her family, was born to Alphonse Emil Bisek and Bernita (Krause) Bisek, in Whitehall, Wisconsin. Her father worked in a packing plant and her mother was a secretary. She has Polish and Swiss ancestry. She graduated as valedictorian from Whitehall Memorial High School in 1984. A music student from childhood, Bisek attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, majoring in music and joining the Delta Alpha Delta sorority. She graduated cum laude in 1988.
In 1988, just out of college, she accepted an internship in Washington, D.C., in the office of Republican Congressman Steve Gunderson. At the end of the internship she joined Gunderson's Congressional staff where she worked until 1995. In 1995, she moved to the House Committee on Agriculture where she worked as Chief Clerk until 2007.
Since leaving the House Committee on Agriculture in 2007, Callista Gingrich has served as President of Gingrich Productions, a multimedia production company founded by Callista and her husband. They produce historical and public policy documentary films, publish books and newsletters, and make speeches, television, and radio appearances.
Together, they have hosted seven documentaries, including A City Upon A Hill, America at Risk, Nine Days that Changed the World, Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous with Destiny, Rediscovering God in America, Rediscovering God in America II: Our Heritage, and We Have the Power. The films have sold several hundred thousand copies.
Gingrich has authored three children’s books featuring Ellis the Elephant, including Sweet Land of Liberty, about American exceptionalism, and Land of the Pilgrims' Pride, about colonial America. Both were on the The New York Times Best Seller list of Children's Picture Books. Yankee Doodle Dandy, about the American Revolution, was released in October 2013.
Gingrich is a long-time member of the choir of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. and plays French horn with the City of Fairfax Band in Fairfax, Virginia. She serves as President of the Gingrich Foundation which, among other charitable contributions, established the Newt L. and Callista L. Gingrich Scholarship to benefit instrumental music majors at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.
Callista Bisek met Newt Gingrich in 1993 when he was House Minority Whip and she was working in the office of Congressman Gunderson. Callista testified in 1999 as part of Gingrich's divorce proceedings that the couple began a six-year affair in 1993 while Newt was married to his second wife, Marianne. Newt divorced Marianne in December 1999, and on August 18, 2000, Callista and Newt were married in a private ceremony in Alexandria, Virginia. In 2002, Newt Gingrich asked the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta to annul his 19-year marriage to Marianne on the basis that she had been previously married. Callista, a lifelong Catholic, was instrumental in her husband's conversion to that faith in 2009. The Gingriches live in McLean, Virginia.
Participation in the 2012 Republican primaries
As part of her husband's bid to become the Republican nominee in the 2012 Presidential election, Callista often appeared by his side at rallies. In early 2012, Gingrich began to take a more active role in the campaign, and undertook her first campaign speaking appearances without her husband. On February 10, Callista Gingrich appeared at the Conservative Political Action Conference, giving an introduction to Newt Gingrich prior to his speech. In addition, she has supported the campaign through speaking appearances at Republican women's groups, meetings of Gingrich supporters and various rallies. In a 2011 EBook published by RealClearPolitics, an anonymous Gingrich campaign strategist said that Newt Gingrich had spent large sums of money at luxury jeweler Tiffany & Company in an effort to "buy Callista off" and win her acquiescence for his presidential run. The book also reported that the campaign chartered flights home for Newt Gingrich every night at Callista's insistence. Newt Gingrich said that "lies" were told about Callista during the campaign "to her disadvantage."
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- Nikki Schwab (October 15, 2013). "Callista Gingrich's 'Ellis the Elephant' Turns 3". U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved October 17, 2013.
- "Newt Gingrich and Callista Gingrich honor the legacy of President Ronald Reagan with Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous with Destiny" (Press release). PRWEB. February 3, 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-03.
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- Callista Gingrich makes her debut as a solo campaigner Atlanta Journal Constitution, February 15, 2012
- CPAC: Callista Gingrich makes rare speaking appearance CBS News, February 10, 2012
- Callista Gingrich talks up Newt at CPAC The Washington Post, February 11, 2012
- Callista Gingrich tests herself in public speaking role The Washington Post, February 14, 2012
- Newt Gingrich courts Tennessee voters Politico, February 27, 2012
- Callista Gingrich Rallies Newt's Supporters Patch.com, February 18, 2012
- At Everett rally, Newt Gingrich says his energy policies would push gas down to $2.50 a gallon The Herald (Everett, Washington), February 25, 2012
- The Story Behind Gingrich's Greek Cruise RealClearPolitics, December 28, 2011
- Newt Gingrich: 'Lies' Told About Wife Callista Are 'Not Fair' Huffington Post, November 21, 2011