In the Charleston, South Carolina, debates things got quite heated from the very beginning. And by the very beginning we literally mean the very first question.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is at the center of a very public scandal where his ex-wife went on the ABC network and revealed very personal details about their marriage. That in itself is a subject of much controversy and public debate, but CNN host John King drew the short stick as he chose to begin the Charleston debate with that question. Asking Newt Gingrich to respond to the allegations by his ex-wife about open marriage, he asked if Gingrich would ‘Like to take some time to respond to that?’
With a very straight face, Gingrich remarked, ‘No’, and added, ‘But I will’, - a response that drew applause from the audience.
From here on, things got very tricky for CNN – the network that was hosting the debate and for the moderator of the debate, John King.
"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 said and got a standing ovation from the audience.
That wasn’t all, Gingrich took time out to point that he was ‘frankly, astounded that CNN would take trash like that and use it to open a presidential debate’. At this point King pointed out that they weren’t the ones who conducted the interview, rather it was another channel. That drew some more scorn from Gingrich who among other things added, ‘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.’
Watch the entire exchange here: