Dear Commons Community,
Newt Gingrich had quite a day yesterday. Rick Perry dropped out of the Republican presidential primary race and endorsed him. Polls in South Carolina show Gingrich surging. And last night was another candidate’s debate in which Gingrich generally does well. However, it was also a day that his second wife, Marianne Gignrich, gave an interview that aired on the ABC network during which she mentioned that Newt had asked her if they could have an “open marriage” – not the kind of thing that most presidential candidates would want the public to know.
The sparks flew on the stage during the CNN debate in Charleston, S.C., last night during the very first question. The charges, however, were not directed between the candidates, but between former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and debate moderator John King. Here is the exchange:
“CNN debate moderator asked John King asked Gingrich to respond to allegations by his ex-wife that in 1999, Gingrich asked her to have an open marriage with him.
“Would you like to take some time to respond to that?” asked King.
“No, but I will,” responded Gingrich, receiving loud, sustained applause from the audience.
“I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office. And I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that,” he said.
The audience gave Gingrich a standing ovation.
When King asked if he was finished, Gingrich said he would like to be allowed to continue:
Every person in here knows personal pain. Every person in here has had someone close to them go through painful things. To take an ex-wife and make it two days before the primary, a significant question in a presidential campaign, is as close to despicable as anything I can imagine.
My two daughters, my two daughters wrote the head of ABC and made the point that it was wrong, that they should pull it, and I am, frankly, astounded that CNN would take trash like that and use it to open a presidential debate.
King pointed out that the interview was not done by CNN, but by another network.
“John, it was repeated by your network,” replied Gingrich. “You chose to start the debate with it. Don’t try to blame somebody else. You and your staff chose to start the debate with it. … Let me be quite clear. The story is false. Every personal friend I have who knew us in that period says the story was false. We offered several of them to ABC to prove it was false. They weren’t interested because they would like to attack any Republican. They’re attacking the governor [Mitt Romney]. They’re attacking me. I’m sure they’ll get around to Sen. Santorum and Congressman Paul. I’m tired of the elite media protecting Barack Obama by attacking Republicans.”
After this speech, he again received a standing ovation. ”