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Gingrich angrily rebuffs questions about ex-wife

At Thursday's debate Newt Gingrich slammed the news media for focusing on accusations by his ex-wife that he requested an "open marriage." NBC's Peter Alexander reports.

 

Newt Gingrich opened a pivotal Republican presidential debate with a fiery attack on the media for publishing stories regarding new allegations made against him by an ex-wife.

Gingrich assailed, in no uncertain terms, CNN moderator John King for opening the debate by asking Gingrich to answer allegations made by his ex-wife, Marianne, in an interview with ABC News, saying the then-speaker of the House asked to engage in an "open marriage," or else he would file for divorce.

"I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate with a topic like that," Gingrich said, earning wild applause from the audience. "To take an ex-wife and make it two days before the primary a significant question in a presidential campaign is as close to despicable as anything I can imagine."

Gingrich disputed the allegations as "false," and his three fellow Republicans onstage resisted piling on. ("Let's get on to the real issues," former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said.)

It was a spirited opening to a debate that capped one of the most politically tumultuous days of the 2012 cycle.