Video: Team Gingrich concedes claim on offering ABC “friends” rebutting ex-wife “wrong”

posted at 11:00 am on January 26, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Better get used to seeing this, because I guarantee you it will come up in tonight’s debate:

After nearly a week on the defensive, CNN’s John King reports tonight that Newt Gingrich’s claim about offering witnesses to ABC News in his defense — to rebut the network’s interview with his second wife, Marianne Gingrich — was not true.

“Tonight, after persistent questioning by our staff, the Gingrich campaign concedes now Speaker Gingrich was wrong — both in his debate answer, and in our interview yesterday,” King said on tonight’s edition of John King USA. “Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond says the only people the Gingrich campaign offered to ABC were his two daughters from his first marriage.”

It’s still a lame question — for a presidential debate.  Debate questions should really go to either issues or matters of record brought up by the campaigns, not personal issues.  King’s question would have been perfectly fine in a one-on-one interview, but what exactly were the other candidates supposed to debate from this topic?

So will this retreat come up in tonight’s debate?  Well, you tell me.  The debate will be aired by CNN, which has been defending John King for the past week over this question.  Now that he’s been at least partially vindicated and Gingrich shown to be wrong in the debate (or at least misinformed by his staff) while angrily castigating King and the entire network, do you think that CNN is going to just let this pass?  I’m pretty sure Gingrich is already working on his response for tonight, and it will be interesting to see if he can use it for another full-throated attack on the media — and whether it works.

Update: A few commenters ask, “What about his daughters?”  In his response last week, Gingrich said that he offered witnesses besides his daughters.  This is what Gingrich claimed in the previous CNN debate:

“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.”

Clearly, Gingrich wasn’t referring to his daughters.  However, I have changed the word “witnesses” in the headline to “friends,” which is both a more accurate direct quote (I had recalled Gingrich as referring to “witnesses) and more clear on this particular point.

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Newt’s the only one who might fight the current corruption and overspending. Newt is a flawed guy who’s erratic, but he’s all we’ve got. That’s why the Palins tentatively support Newty.

Gladtobehere on January 26, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Newt epitomizes corruption. For the past 20 years he has lived off his Washington connections. Without them, he would have no income. He, of all the candidates, has the greatest interest in preserving the Washington status quo.

My instinct tells me he will only cut spending if it gives him more power-he might decide that he needs to cut spending to run for a second term, for instance.

Romney, on the other hand, has shown the ability in the private sector to make the difficult decisions of closing plants (hopefully federal programs) that were failing and laying off workers (hopefully in the future federal employees) that were causing the businesses to fail in order to have a financially thriving business (formerly Bain, but possibly the USA in the future). Hey, I can dream, can’t I.

talkingpoints on January 26, 2012 at 2:59 PM

adulterers tend to lie until the get caught

hanzblinx on January 26, 2012 at 3:16 PM

No conservative voter with any sense of decency could ever, EVER consider voting for the corrupt liar Newt Gingrich.

Newt Gingrich = Disgrace.

bluegill on January 26, 2012 at 3:24 PM

talkingpoints on January 26, 2012 at 2:59 PM

That is a pretty good point.

Dollayo on January 26, 2012 at 3:27 PM

Newt supporters are saying it doesn’t matter and Romney supporters are saying nothing matters more than this.
Night Owl on January 26, 2012 at 11:53 AM

I don’t think a single person on this thread has said nothing matters more than whether Newt asked his wife for an open marriage or whether there are friends that can testify that he didn’t (which seems to be an absolute impossibility unless Newt was wearing a wire 24/7 around the time of his affair) ore even whether Newt lied about having friends that could testify.

At this point I guess I’m going to support Romney as the best of a second rate lot, so you can disregard my comments if you’re a Newt supporter.

IMHO, the more air time Newt has, the more outrageous things he says, some of which are lies, some of which are hyperbole. I see a pattern of lying. Newt doesn’t appear to have any moral respect for the truth. If he doesn’t have any respect for the truth, and breaks promises like marriage vows, and changes positions on key issues depending on his perception of his audience and the political climate, why should we believe he will do as he says if elected?

If Newt is running against Obama in the general, I think his outrageous statements, his contradictory statements and positions, his hypocrisy, and his fairly repellant personal lifestyle will make it very difficult for him to defeat Obama.

I’ll still vote for him over Obama.

talkingpoints on January 26, 2012 at 3:27 PM

Drudge, Hot Air, NRO have all gone into stop Gingrich at any cost mode.

Bill C on January 26, 2012 at 11:16 AM

It’s gonna backfire on ’em.

kg598301 on January 26, 2012 at 3:28 PM

Newton Leroy Gingrich will say ANYTHING
He’s hollow inside. If you wrap your knuckles on him the sound is an empty hollow drum like the tinman. No heart, no soul. He stands for nothing but his own bloated ego.

Buttercup on January 26, 2012 at 3:32 PM

It’s gonna backfire on ‘em.

kg598301 on January 26, 2012 at 3:28 PM

it will backfire on Drudge? hahahaa :-)…

jimver on January 26, 2012 at 3:32 PM

Priscilla on January 26, 2012 at 2:47 PM

You quoted me electability, but the campaign Romney has run is a pure stinker, it’s all fluff. Recent polls are showing his favorables are similar to Gingrich. The electability meme died out in SC and now in FL. If you are electable you don’t have a record of 9 wins VS 15 losses and you don’t tally NH as you’re only win while also losing in the overall race in 2008.

I’m not an adoring super fan of Newt, I like his ideas. But as far as what has he ever done? How’s about lead the GOP into its 1st majority in decades. How’s about cut cut cut at the budget to help get it balanced for the 1st time in decades? How’s about speaker of the house, how’s about welfare reform? How’s about lecture and be a prominent figure in conservatism for past 20 years, how’s about comeback in this campaign time after time when everyone wrote him off? How’s about him taking Romney for a spin and putting that campaign into sheer panic? How’s about clean up in every debate so far, 15+ of them.

You like Romney? Hey all the power to ya, but Romney is a pale figure next to Gingrich as far as getting things done that matter to USA right now, deficits, budgets, reforming entitlements, etc. Romney has problems connecting with voters, articulating a strong message, he doesn’t have a strong record re being a conservative either. He’s far from a great candidate and that’s why almost njo one is talking him up as one.

saus on January 26, 2012 at 3:55 PM

Hey corrupt Newt, the jig is up! You have told one too many lies this time. Republicans aren’t being fooled by your dishonest ways.

I’m shocked at the audacity of this corrupt man Newt Gingrich. He shamelessly lies through his teeth in front of live tv cameras and an audience of millions… and he thinks no one is going to catch him?

Newt Gingrich is now disqualified from further consideration.

bluegill on January 26, 2012 at 4:03 PM

Out of Gingrich and Romney I prefer Gingrich. But I really wish there was a better option. Santorum has no shot or I’d vote for him.

popularpolitics on January 26, 2012 at 4:06 PM

How about none of the above which I have been thinking for sometime. What a sorry bunch of candidates. Newt scares me because Democrats and a lot of independents detest him and I am almost there. From his attacks on Reagan while trying to proclaim the Reagan Mantle, to his being friendly with Democrats as Speaker and dissing Conservatives to his ethics complaints, resigning as Speaker and learning all the time he was going after Clinton on Monica, he was having his own six-year affair with a Congressional staffer, makes me a huge liability as a candidate. You will get Dems out to vote who wouldn’t waste their time if it was Romney.

Newt is red meat because of his arrogance, his lack of values, and his boasting while trying to rewrite history. The inside the beltway man is more inside the beltway then Romney by far. How many candidates will tell you they worked for the head of lobbying but was not a lobbyist when he was selling influence. Pretending to carry the Reagan mantle when he knows he overstated his relationship and frankly trashed Reagan at times does not endear him to this Conservative even a little.

PhiKapMom on January 26, 2012 at 4:27 PM

Out of Gingrich and Romney I prefer Gingrich. But I really wish there was a better option. Santorum has no shot or I’d vote for him.

popularpolitics on January 26, 2012 at 4:06 PM

It is the primary dude.

You should vote for who you think is the best candidate.

If you like Santorum above the rest, you should vote for him.

Then support the Republican in the General.

Gunlock Bill on January 26, 2012 at 4:33 PM

You will get Dems out to vote who wouldn’t waste their time if it was Romney.

PhiKapMom on January 26, 2012 at 4:27 PM

That’s one of my (big) concerns with a Newt candidacy. The good thing about a “dull” candidate is that they typically don’t inspire the other side to go out and vote against them, at least not to a large degree. Newt is much more polarizing.

changer1701 on January 26, 2012 at 4:33 PM

csdeven, I accept the list the other commenter provided.

Schadenfreude on January 26, 2012 at 2:28 PM

Well let me know if any of it is acceptable proof of his conservative creds. If you don’t catch me on this thread, catch me on another.

csdeven on January 26, 2012 at 4:48 PM

I dont see how Newt turns this into a positive…He stepped in it …now he’ll have to worm his way out….Not a great way to start a debate.

Afterseven on January 26, 2012 at 4:58 PM

So Gingrich flat out lied.

It’s too bad it was about something so easy to disprove.

Now it appears that his huge SC momentum — a large part of which was generated by that very exchange that was played over and over and over the entire next day — was just a fraud on the voters.

EconomicNeocon on January 26, 2012 at 5:07 PM

Looks like Newt intends to be the “Day After President.”

Every day after his sticks his foot in his big mouth, we will all be ordered to check his website the day after for “the rest of the story/clarification/the truth, etc.”

He should really start whoopin’ and hollerin’ after Florida.

Horace on January 26, 2012 at 5:12 PM

This is stupid….
All Newt has to say is he was mis-informed by his staff.

golfmann on January 26, 2012 at 11:15 AM

So … you want him to lie again?

Because you know that ain’t the truth.

Newt was embellishing his outrage. He was exagerrating. He was lying. He damn sure wasn’t mis-informed by his staff.

PackerBronco on January 26, 2012 at 6:00 PM

I dont see how Newt turns this into a positive…He stepped in it …now he’ll have to worm his way out….Not a great way to start a debate.

Afterseven on January 26, 2012 at 4:58 PM


dom89031 on January 27, 2012 at 4:06 AM

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