“We kind of feel like it must be a political set-up of some sort,” former Rep. Bob Walker, a longtime colleague of Gingrich’s, said after the debate, referring to ABC News’ brief feature in which Marianne Gingrich claimed Gingrich asked to have an “open marriage.” Asked who might be behind the set-up, Walker said, “I don’t know, but ABC has been pretty favorable to Barack Obama over the years, and maybe they decided this was the time. I don’t know, but the timing is somewhat suspicious…As Newt begins to rise in the polls, it is interesting that a couple of days before the election is when they bring this up.”

A few moments later, Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond also suggested that someone or some organization — unnamed — is behind the story. “We knew people were going to throw as much mud at us as possible,” Hammond said. “If you’re not over the target, you’re not taking flak. Well, we must be pretty darn close to getting this nomination, because there are a lot of stops being pulled now. We’re not going to go around pointing fingers at who they are, but we think it’s pretty obvious.” Hammond did not elaborate.