AirTalk for January 20, 2012

Sparks fly at CNN debate, Gingrich blasts moderator’s “open marriage” opening

CNN And Southern Republican Leadership Conference Host GOP Presidential Debate

John Moore/Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R), next to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, makes a point during the opening question of a debate at the North Charleston Coliseum January 19, 2012 in Charleston, South Carolina.

The news from the campaign trail yesterday had as many twists and turns as Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, culminating with one of the feistiest GOP debates yet. On Thursday, Perry dropped out, endorsing Newt, and Santorum claimed victory in the Iowa caucuses after the state party released its final tally showing him 34 votes ahead of Romney.

But the biggest buzz had to do with Newt’s ex-wife, Marianne Gingrich, alleging that her former husband had asked her for an “open marriage,” rather than a divorce so he could continue seeing his mistress. Newt, who strongly denies the allegation, is now married to the former mistress Callista, his third wife. And all that happened before last night’s rollicking CNN debate in Charleston, South Carolina.

The moderator, John King, came right out of the gate asking about the “open marriage” allegation, sparking a swift and furious response from the former Speaker of the House: “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,” Newt blasted, inspiring a standing ovation from the audience.

It remains to be seen what impact the whole “open marriage” thing will have on Newt’s performance in South Carolina, where voters go to the polls on Saturday.

WEIGH IN:

But here’s what we want to know: what do you think of CNN’s moderator John King focusing on the “open marriage” allegation? Was the question fair game or a cheap shot on the part of CNN and King? And, does the media unfairly target Republicans over Democrats as Newt later alleges?


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