The Elephant in the Room…

Politico’s Dylan Byers and Keach Hagey write about the first question John King asked of Newt Gingrich at the start of the GOP debate tonight…

King made his first question of the night about Gingrich’s second wife, Marianne, who has made a round of interviews criticizing Gingrich for his treatment of her during their marriage.

“Your ex-wife gave an interview to ABC News, another interview with ‘The Washington Post,’ and this story has now gone viral on the Internet,” King said. “She says you came to her in 1999 at a time when you were having an affair. She says you asked her [for] an open marriage. Would you like to take some time to respond to that?”

“No, but I will,” I Gingrich shot back, causing the audience to erupt with applause. “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. I’m appalled you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that.”

King took full responsibility for the question during a conversation after the debate with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, but defended his decision to lead with it.

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31 Responses to “The Elephant in the Room…”

  1. I like John King, but damn. That will go in the books and dog him the rest of his career. At least if he had asked it later on, he wouldn’t have spent the majority of the debate looking snake-bit. I believe someone on Twitter mentioned Stockholm Syndrome.

  2. if you are going to dish it out, you better be able to take it.

  3. I appreciate his explanation that if he had held it ’til mid-debate, it would have hung in the air. He would have been criticized for dragging it out. He kinda sacrificed himself by throwing it out at the top, knowing the storm that was coming with the partisan audience behind him. I thought it was dumb at first, but in retrospect, getting it over with up front was the right way to handle it.

  4. missy5537 Says:

    I hate the fact that Newt’s been divorced twice and is now married to his “mistress”. But he says he’s made peace with God, and I guess we have to accept that.

    But as Hannity points out, where the hell was the cross-examination when 0bama spoke of his cocaine use? Yes, he confessed it and has turned from it, but was HE ever questioned on it in a debate, or any other format? Hell No! And what about the way he obtained his Senate seat? He had to have the SEALED divorce records of his Republican opponent opened (thereby destroying the guy’s family in public) to do so. Any outrage over that? Are you kidding?

  5. savefarris Says:

    I thought it was dumb at first, but in retrospect, getting it over with up front was the right way to handle it.

    Leave it alone and let the other candidates bring it up. That way, your hands are clean. You knew Mitt wanted to go there the way he introducd himself off the bat as “being married 42 years”.

    And if the other candidates all refuse to take the bait? Well, then maybe they’ve decided it’s not ‘a story’ and you should too.

  6. This was a debate forum, not an interview. The question should have been asked in a different setting.

    Well, I suppose the other candidates could have bailed John King out by debating Chevrolet quality, the relatively few amenities, and trade-in values.

  7. My Chevrolet has plenty of amenities, and runs great. I thought about a Jaguar because it’s so good looking, but it was too overpriced and high maintenance. Been there.

  8. – cocaine use –

    Hysterical much? Asking a liberal about admitted cocaine use would have been a huge waste of time. The story about Newt didn’t come from Newt. It came from an ex the day of the debate, and the accusation wasn’t about admitted recreational drug use; it was about a Presidential candidate being a hypocritical, abusive scumbag.

  9. savefarris Says:

    so joe, you agree that the media was derelict for not starting off the 2008 Democratic debates with questioning John Edward’s fidelity?

  10. If the Edwards story had been exposed the day of a debate, he would have been questioned about it. Ya know, you conservatives are a paranoid bunch. Guess what..they’re not all out to get you.

  11. If it’s ‘bias’, it’s bias that bit him in the ass. Take it as a victory and move on.

  12. Barry used cocaine? Didn’t even know that.

    (I’m calling him that until Andy gives up on “Willard”).

  13. missy5537 Says:

    Joe, as you well know, the media swept the John Edwards thing under the rug, leaving the National Enquirer to get to the bottom of the story.

    This idiot was on the lower half of the Presidential Ticket, as you might recall. And it was OK that the media glossed over his affair?

  14. As I’ve explained numerous times, all “the media” had was a blonde chick who seemed to hang around Edwards a lot. It wasn’t until a photo of the child – older, and looking suspiciously like Edwards – was produced that they had anything to go on. By that time he was out of politics. How many effin times do i have to tell you this?

  15. “you agree that the media was derelict for not starting off the 2008 Democratic debates with questioning John Edward’s fidelity?”


    I’ll be more explicit… YES the media was derelict for not going after Edwards on his illegitimate child. If the media caught him earlier in the primary, it is entirely possible the results would have been different.

    The overall debate about who gets treated worse in a sex scandal, dems or reps, tires me because the truth is, each situation is different and each side of the aisle does this. It is human nature to defend those we like and crucify those we don’t. It’s all a wash in the end.

    P.S. Newt is still a no good S.O.B for numerous reasons besides his philandering. That just adds to the list.

  16. What would have been the point of exposing Edwards’ affair? To wag our fingers at him? I fail to see how it would have affected his ability to lead. The most that would have happened is, his family and his candidacy would have been destroyed for no good reason.

    The media didn’t chase Newt’s story. The ex came to them, and the story wasn’t the was Newt’s obscene behavior during and after it. The two situations are so different as to be laughable to be compared. It’s nothing more than Conservative Persecution whining.

  17. His career would have been ended for a good reason. His wife was dying, and the woman he cheated with is a flake. I liked him in 2004 and after hearing the story, I would have never voted for him. I would argue that if he wasn’t in the top 3 and it was Clinton vs. Obama from the beginning, it is likely that Clinton would have won. Let’s be honest, these personal issues are now a part of the political discussion.

    I thought it was entirely appropriate for John King to open with that infamous question. He is getting a bad rap but it seems people may be coming around to King’s position that it was reasonable to ask the question.

  18. I don’t agree that an affair in and of itself is any of our business. It may have changed your opinion of him enough to not vote for him, but that’s precisely why I disagree with it. Nobody knows what goes on inside a marriage, and I really don’t think it directly affects one’s ability to do the President’s job.

    Where the Edwards story became A Story was when it became apparent that he was probably using campaign cash to take care of the little bimbo. Presidential candidates who break the law should be exposed.

  19. PS. I liked him in ’04, also..the Two Americas and all that. I saw him speak in San Francisco.

  20. joeremi, you make valid points. It is complicated because I think we should have boundaries on what the public should know about a politician’s personal life. It doesn’t necessarily affect a person’s ability to lead but sometimes, depending on circumstances, it does because it undermines their credibility. Even the Edwards staff felt betrayed. It wasn’t JUST the infidelity, in and of itself, rather the whole sordid story and the very dippy woman he cheated with. Elizabeth Edwards was beloved so people really questioned John’s judgement. I know I did.

    That’s cool that you got to hear him speak. I liked him more than Kerry in ’04 particularly because of his Two Americas message.

  21. missy5537 Says:

    Joe, it matters a LOT when any candidate or politician has something to hide, because of blackmail, or course. Maybe Edwards could have traded some nice national security secrets for silence on the affair?

  22. Sorry kids, I’m not buying it. How people behave in their marriages is not for us to be prying into, and that includes Newt. The Marianne story exists because she told it, which – after the disgusting details were revealed – brought his character into question, and made the question worth asking. I wouldn’t have supported journalists trying to out him.

  23. ^ With one exception. If a candidate is physically harming his wife, or there is evidence of severe psychological over. Bring in Woodstein.

  24. ^ or if there’s evidence that a candidate has skipped out on his/her child support obligations.

    With the John Edwards example, I admit that his wife being diagnosed with a life-ending illness adds more disgust to my feelings about him, but it’s entirely possible that their marriage was over long before that. While none of my business, his actions confirmed my belief that he’s always been a phony… which proves that I didn’t need to learn of his extra-marital stuff to reach that conclusion.

  25. Looks like Gingrich is going to squeak-in a SC win.

  26. Spray him with WD-40 til he quits squeaking.

  27. Spray something on Romney. That guy needs to get his act in gear.

  28. Nah, he’s slippery enough.

  29. I’m just glad the race is getting interesting. So much for Romney wrapping this up tomorrow. This may be a long slog after all.

  30. Yeah, all of our leading-lights are hoping for a drawn-out primary. And by “leading-lights” I mean…oh, forget it.

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