Gingrich turned the tables effectively on John King of CNN last night at the final debate prior to the South Carolina primary on Saturday. Here is the transcript:
JOHN KING: And just as speaker Gingrich surged into contention here in South Carolina, a direct fresh character attack on the Speaker.
And Mr Speaker, I want to start with that this evening.
As you know, your ex-wife gave an interview to ABC News and another interview with The Washington Post. And this story has now gone viral on the internet.
In it, she says that you came to her in 1999, at a time when you were having an affair. She says you asked her, sir, to enter into an open marriage.
Would you like to take some time to respond to that?
GINGRICH: No, but I will.
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.
KING: Is that all you want to say, sir?
GINGRICH: Let me finish.
GINGRICH: 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 for a presidential campaign is as close to despicable as anything I can imagine.
My – 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: As you noted, Mr Speaker, this story did not come from our network. As you also know, it is a subject of conversation on the campaign. I’m not – I get your point. I take your point.
GINGRICH: John, John, it was repeated by your network. You chose to start the debate with it. Don’t try to blame somebody else. You and your staff chose to start this debate with it.
Let me be quite clear. Let me be quite clear. The story is false. Every personal friend I have who knew us in that period said 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. They’re attacking me. I’m sure they’ll presently get around to Senator Santorum and Congressman Paul.
I am tired of the elite media protecting Barack Obama by attacking Republicans.
I find it difficult to take the media seriously as an arbiter of public or private morality. If they like a politician they will do their level best to protect him. They were forced, kicking and screaming, to give the John Edwards love child scandal any coverage, and that nasty piece of private and public corruption was left to the National Enquirer to explore initially, solely because Edwards was a liberal with a D after his name. Republicans understand that this game has been rigged against them for several generations and they are beyond tired of it. Newt touched a raw nerve in regard to this, and that is why he got the standing ovation.
As to the substance of the story, he has long admitted to cheating on his first two wives. Marianne, the aggrieved Newt wife 2 who gave the interview, happily cheated with Gingrich while he was married to Newt wife 1. Whatever damage this has caused to him has already been factored in by any voter who isn’t comatose. Personally, I find Newt’s behavior in his first two marriages to be despicable, and I still find him preferable to Romney and light years better than Obama.
Here is some background on the story. Marianne Gingrich did not come to ABC to tell her story. They sought her out beginning in November of last year, when Newt was riding high in the polls and it was assumed that he might well be the Republican nominee. The initial contact was made allegedly about an FBI investigation of Gingrich that was closed in 1997. They quickly realized that there was nothing to the FBI investigation story, but that Marianne might be willing to go public with her anger over the way Gingrich had ended their marriage by committing adultery. On January 13 she was interviewed by ABC.
This is typical of most the mainstream media. If a story can damage a Republican they will spare no effort to get it, even if it is essentially an old story from 14 years ago with little new news in it. A Democrat scandal however, will usually be greeted with indifference by most of the mainstream media until such time as it gets big enough that they have to cover it. Bill Clinton when he was in office benefited hugely from this glaring media double standard. Every sentient Republican understands that almost all of the mainstream media is essentially an arm of the Democrat party. For generations they have gritted their teeth over this obvious bias and Gingrich understands this. That is how ABC and CNN inadvertently helped him to win, which I predict will be the result, the South Carolina primary tomorrow.