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Those Who Know Us Best

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

I've come to realize that it's often not very telling if those who don't know someone well love them the most. After all, what they often see is the thin veneer of outward appearances. Dress, manners, gestures -- they see the person portrayed to the outside world. It's not that it's not important how one dresses, what one says or how one conducts oneself. Instead, it means that it's more important who people are through and through -- are they authentic, are they real, are they loved by those who know them best?

What matters are the opinions of those who know us the best -- family and longtime friends. The people who have known us for years, who have seen us in all sorts of moods, all types of situations, at our best, on different occasions and situations, and also at our worst. They know us for who we are -- in good times and in bad -- not who we want to be or hope to be or try to be.

They know the real person -- the authentic person.

If those who don't know us best love us, it's nice -- but not meaningful. In a world dominated by rock stars, entertainers and "celebrities," that are "celebrities" for being "celebrities," it's easy to misinterpret adoring fans for real loving relationships; to misunderstand a fan's adoration for a real relationship. It's the attraction to something interesting, but possibly not real, but contrived. Are some of these people as they appear? Certainly. But many are certainly not as they appear, but are contrived -- fake. Made for show, not for real.

Then who would know the difference between those who are real and authentic and those that are contrived, are made up? Those who know them best, those who have known them the longest, would know whether they were real or contrived.

Back to my original premise: It's the opinions of those who know us best that matter the most.

In the case of presidential candidate, and former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, my dad, those that know him best, on Super Tuesday, voted for him by overwhelming margins. Georgia, his home state, where he served 20 years in Congress, and which had 76 delegates at stake (more than any other state that day), voted 47 percent for him. The second-place candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney came in at 26 percent.

Because there were so many delegates at stake, all three top candidates campaigned in Georgia.

Georgia is the state where Gingrich graduated from Baker High School, where he graduated from Emory University, started his career at West Georgia College, where his two children (my sister Kathy and I) graduated from high school, where my husband and I still live with our two children, where he served for 20 years as a United Stated congressman, representing the people of Georgia.

Gingrich was helped immensely by the endorsements of sitting Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and former presidential candidate Herman Cain of Georgia. He was also helped by the hundreds of volunteers who have worked with and for him for decades.

They know when Gingrich makes a promise, as he did with the Contract for America, that he will keep it. They know that he is the only candidate that has balanced our national budget and reformed a major entitlement program. While others talk a good game, they know that he can accomplish what our country needs today. Fiscal conservatism, living within our means, cutting back government, pushing the power back to the people.

The race continues; time will tell who will become the Republican nominee. Part of the primary process is to analyze the messengers to make sure that they are aligned with their message. How have they governed in the past? Does their message today align with their record? Are they great at marketing or great at governing?

Remember, it's easy to fool those who don't know us well. It's impossible to fool those who know us the best. When those who know us best love us most, we know we are doing something right, and it will just take time for others to know us as well, and love us as much.

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