Gingrich campaign reacts to ex-wife's TV interview

Newt Gingrich

Marianne Gingrich, in 1995 (Credit: AP Photo)

(CBS) -- Newt Gingrich's campaign on Wednesday released a letter from his daughters to ABC News executives seeking to blunt the perceived damage from an interview the network reportedly plans to air with the former House speaker's ex-wife.

The letter came after news outlets reported that ABC was debating whether to air the interview with Marianne Gingrich, who was married to Gingrich for 18 years. After their divorce, Gingrich married his third wife, Callista, with whom he has acknowledged having an affair while he was married.

"ABC News or other campaigns may want to talk about the past, just days before an important primary election," said the letter from Kathy Lubbers and Jackie Cushman, his two daughters from his first marriage.

But the two women said their father was more interested in discussing creating jobs, lowering taxes and defeating President Obama. "We are confident this is the conversation the people of South Carolina are interested in having," they said.

An ABC News spokesman confirmed Wednesday night to The New York Times that "Nightline" will broadcast the interview at 11:35 p.m. EST on Thursday. Excerpts will be released earlier in the day, before a CNN-sponsored Republican debate that evening.

Marianne Gingrich gave an interview to Esquire magazine in 2010 in which she contended that he saw no connection between his words and his actions when they were together.

She quoted him as telling her: "It doesn't matter what I do. People need to hear what I have to say. There's no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn't matter what I live."

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