Newt Gingrich slammed CNN debate moderator John King at a Republican debate in South Carolina last Thursday following the first question, which involved allegations by Gingrich’s ex-wife that he requested an open marriage in 1999.
“Would you like to take some time to respond to that?” asked King.
“No, but I will,” responded Gingrich. “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.”
Gingrich went on to criticize ABC, the network that ran the interview with his ex-wife, for not allowing him to provide people who could back up his side of the story. Gingrich says he never requested an open marriage.
“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,” he said. “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.”
ABC said that Gingrich was lying in an email from its Senior Vice President Jeffrey W. Schneider to The Washington Post:
“That’s just not true. His daughters were in our story last night and we sought interviews with Gingrich or surrogates very aggressively starting Tuesday morning. Would have been happy to interview anyone they put forward.”