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Barney Frank calls Newt Gingrich hypocritical

WASHINGTON -- His term ends in just two weeks but that did not stop the soon-to-retire, infamously cantankerous Massachusetts Democrat for slamming his former rival.

Congressman Barney Frank blasted former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for hypocrisy on Wednesday, criticizing the marital track record of his political nemesis after Gringrich connected the Sandy Hook school massacre to the absence of religion in public life.

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“God appears to have been driven out of Mr. Gingrich’s private life if you look at his marital history,” Frank said on MSNBC. “He’s very selective about where he thinks fundamental religious tenets ought to be followed.”

Rev. Al Sharpton had asked Frank to respond to Gingrich’s earlier comments on a Cincinnati radio program in which Gingrich said: “When you have an anti-religious, secular bureaucracy and secular judiciary seeking to drive God out of public life, something fills the vacuum. And that something, you know — I don’t know that going from communion to playing war games in which you practice killing people is necessarily an improvement.”

Frank called Gringich’s statements “nonsense.” “That’s just an example that Mr. Gingrich will say anything to get attention,” Frank said.

Gingrich has been married three times, a point brought up repeatedly by many Republican Christian voters last year while he was seeking the GOP nomination for president. His wife, Callista Bisek, was a staffer with whom he began an affair while married to his second wife. He also had an affair with his second wife while married to his first. The affair with Bisek was going on while Gingrich was calling for the impeachment of President Clinton for his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Frank was one of Clinton’s most ardent supporters during the proceedings.

Gingrich also said in his lengthy radio interview that he agreed with Senator Joe Lieberman’s call for a national commission on mass violence. The commission should expand beyond looking at guns, Gingrich said, to examine the totality of what affects young Americans today.

“Let’s ask a question about why have we become a society in which so many people have no faith in the future, no belief in themselves and in which they don’t see their fellow Americans as human beings, but they just see them as objects,” Gingrich said. “Now I think that’s a national dialogue that would be very healthy.”

Tracy Jan can be reached at tjan@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeTracyJan.
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