WatchSonoma Watch

Was it ‘despicable’ to ask that question of Newt?

Thursday night’s debate among Republican candidates got off to a fiery start when Newt Gingrich was asked about his ex-wife’s claims, in a newly released ABC News interview, that he asked her to agree to an “open marriage” when he was caught having an affair.

Gingrich shot back that the story is false. “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,” he said. “And I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that.”

I agree that it was bad choice by CNN’s John King to start with that question. But the issue is certainly relevant given the candidate’s campaign themes of restoring America’s cultural and moral footing – and his willingness to point out the ethical lapses of other candidates, namely Mitt Romney. Why is Newt’s failure to come clean on how he cheated in his marriage any less relevant than Romney’s failure to come clean on his taxes?

Nevertheless, many political analysts today seem to think that the way the question was asked and Gingrich’s fiery response will help him more than hurt him in Saturday’s primary in South Carolina. Given how the crowd at the North Charleston Coliseum rose to its feet and shouted support for Newt’s answer, they may be right.

- Paul Gullixson

30 Responses to “Was it ‘despicable’ to ask that question of Newt?”

  1. Gary Wysocky An Enabler says:

    Gary Wysocky has been denying he was going to run for re election in recent months but now I see he is indeed campaigning. So he’ll be coming to the editors of the Press Democrat seeking an endorsement soon. The Press Democrat’s editorial board should ask him the tough questions.

    Is he once again going to the sign the pledge the local union bosses require of their candidates? After taking taking huge donations from labor unions for his last campaign and signing a pledge to appoint labor union members to public office, he made the North Bay Labor Council’s President Michael Allen and it’s Executive Director Lisa Maldonado his appointees.

    Does he believe it is wrong for a person holding public office to engage in influence peddling? The Fair Political Practices Commission found and fined his appointee to the Planning Commission did exactly that. If it is “wrong”, why didn’t Wysocky remove Michael Allen when he found out Allen was selling his vote?

    Do ethics matter in the choice of city council candidates in Santa Rosa? Wysocky’s track record is that of an enabler.

    The media and voters cannot ignore the obvious ethical issues whether they be personal like in the case of Gingrich or the poor judgment displayed by Gary Wysocky in making appointments that appear to be bought and paid for by the local union bosses.

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  2. brenda says:

    If Callista was such a devout Catholic, why was she having an affair with a married man?

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  3. Cotati Station Neighbor says:

    No, it wasn’t a dispicable question. What it was was a snarky political move on Newt’s part that played into his surge.

    Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  4. Steve Klausner says:

    I question Gingrich’s common sense. If you are going to remarry why marry a younger woman…no one should have to go through menopause twice.

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  5. What About Michael Allen? says:

    Newt’s wife outed him. That story was going to come out, it was just a matter of when. Is it better for voters to know before or after an election? I say before.

    Michael Allen denied he did anything “wrong” before the last primary election with regard to taking money for his vote on the Santa Rosa Planning Commission while sending his union friends out to smear and intimidate both his opponents and the citizens who reported his crime. After the election– and he just barely squeaked by–he changed that to say he was “cooperating” with the FPPC. Oh…and a year later, after taking office, he signed a statement confessing that he’d indeed taken money for a vote and that it was a serious violation of ethics laws. The Press Democrat never did bother to even show or quote the passages of the contract in which Allen set up a quid pro quo. Is it any wonder most people don’t understand what happened even with this most blatant case local corruption?

    And what about the ex-Mrs Allen? Lee Allen wrote a letter to the Press Democrat warning young women about domestic violence. When the Allen’s divorced, “Michael” Allen had his name changed in Sonoma County Superior Court from “Herbert” to “Michael” and had SEIU double his salary to cover the cost of his divorce. But the Press Democrat never asked any questions about Allen’s background or messy divorce. This paper was satisfied to rely on the slick press releases issued from Allen’s campaign.

    Now that Allen is in office and running again, there’s still no substance in the local paper on who he is or any of the major candidates for office.

    Unless a candidate is running for president, the media doesn’t bother even running a background check.

    Expect the worst.

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  6. Commonsense says:

    Not sure why this is an issue now. The affair, divorce, etc. happened years ago, was reported on quite heavily when it happened and quite frankly isn’t newsworthy at this point. It was not only in poor taste to bring it up as opening question in a debate, but it has nothing to do with any current issue or possible “immoral” behavior. Lets focus on the here and now people, not something that was watercooler talk about 10 years ago.

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  7. NoQuarters says:

    did not Bill Clinton put a hand on the bible and swear before a federal grand jury?
    this site and the Press Democarp only write what the left want to hear.
    maybe thats why The PD was sold again to some unknown company, even the Times bailed
    No excuse for Newt
    however with that said how much ink did the PD use on BOs pals, can anybody show me something the PD wrote of Rev. Wright

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  8. Georgem says:

    Oh how rightseously phony we are! Statistics reveal that 22% of all men have cheated on their wifes while at least 14% of all women have cheated! So that means that 1 out of every 7 married women you know have cheated and 1 out of every 5 men you know has cheated. Stop casting stones when you sre a statstical probabilty of being a cheater!

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  9. Josh Stevens says:

    THE CLINTON STANDARD,n 1.The belief that what occurs between a Democrat party figure and his mistress,intern,friend’s wife,business partner’s wife or campaign photographer is not of concern.

    Newt clearly does not qualify,do to the fact he is not John Edwards.I will concede that Edwards did father a child with some scuzzy woman while his wife was dying of cancer,but he’s a Democrat,fighting for the Little Guy.

    So in conclusion; John Good,Newt Bad.

    Any questions?

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  10. 0 Representation says:

    @goodguy…. Really? And just who do you think went after Clinton while having an affair? Newt. Hello black pot!

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  11. homegirl says:

    Be sure all those who rose to their feet to give Newt a standing ovation are also cheaters.

    Anyone who had any suspicions about their spouse shoul closely examine any video footage that is available.

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  12. bill says:

    that is why the this paper is dying on the vine. we don’t believe you anymore. and we certainly don’t want to pay for it.

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  13. Lets be Reasonable says:

    Interesting dynamics in South Carolina – Ron Paul is viciously attacking Santorum on TV. I’m not sure of the logic, unless he is hoping to knock him out and bring it down to a 3 man race. It will likely give Gingrich the win there, and maybe that is his reason; if Romney were to win, then there probably isn’t much of a fight left. Ron Paul doesn’t think he can do much in Florida, and if Romney were to win SC, he probably also wins Florida and the race is over. With Santorum out, Romney and Gingrich battle it out in Florida, while Paul goes on to the caucus states like Nevada, where he feels he can do better. With Santorum out, you then only have 1 candidate in each of the three Republican demographics – moderate, conservative and libertarian. The conservatives are the biggest segment, so if Gingrich’s baggage doesn’t get in the way then he likely wins. On the other hand, Romney has built a better political organization and is better prepared to battle all the way to the end. It will be interesting to see who Paul attacks next after Santorum drops out. Does he attack Gingrich, thinking that the two of them occupy the most similar political space, or does he go after Romney, so that he can be Gingrich’s VP? I don’t think Ron Paul can win, but he may very well decide who does.

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  14. JoeM says:

    Newt’s “Sherman’s march to the sea” through Congress makes him the godfather of the dirty politics we have today.

    All questions to him should be framed with the same disrespect he has shown to others and to the democratic process.

    Fun comments by the fair and balanced lil’ Ruperts. Don’t let the hatred eat you up.

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  15. christine says:

    Um- and have we not forgotten the “other” wife he left while she underwent chemotherapy??????? Can you spell J-E-R-K?

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  16. goodguy says:

    I think it was a legitimate question to lead off with and I’m a conservative. I just wish they would have put Clinton through the same rigors both before he was elected and after as they have some of the Republicans who have infidelity issues. Such a horrible double-standard, you could drive a Mack truck through the gap!!! Frankly, though, I think Newt should have reserved a bit of his anger for his bitter ex-wife, who in my opinion, seems like a kook of the first order! I can see why he was more drawn to Calista. She’s attractive, intelligent and they had an attraction to one another and that is sometimes hard to find.

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  17. j galt says:

    @Lets be Reasonable. Are you serious? fact check.org states that Obamas father was a British subject when Obama was born in 1961.check out Minor V Happerset SCOTUS.He is not a natural born citizen!

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  18. Its Our Constitution says:

    Newt was correct. The left wing media including this publication, is out to destroy the Republican candidates. Why did the media never seriously questioning Obama’s ties to extreme leftists, his grades, his childhood in Indonesia and his political philosphy?

    The major media publications, cable news and most reporters are liberal and very bias against conservative politicans. That is why we never hear a balanced, fair and objective report on conservative positions and politicans.

    ABC and CNN got what they deserved last night. Hopefully there will be a lot more of this from politicans who are unfairly attacked. The media needs to be asking questions about fixing our economy, the candidates foreign policy opinions and how they would make a difference in changing the state of the economy and what is going on in Iran, China and the Middle East.

    Most people really don’t care what domestic troubles a politican may have. Think Clinton, Kennedy, Kerry to name just a few.

    Most people want effective leadership and a policy that will keep us free at home and abroad.

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  19. Chris from Santa Rosa says:

    There is a gap between Newt Gingrich’s public positions on “family values” and his actual behavior big enough to drive a semi through – sideways. Gingrich should expect questions like the one from John King. In fact, he *did* expect it and had a prepared response that blamed the media instead of addressing the question. It was fierce and self-righteous and the audience lapped it up. Newt’s tirade may have won for himself the win in the South Carolina primary, but that says more about South Carolina than about Gingrich.

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  20. Reality Check says:

    Was it despicable? No. But it is despicable for the media to make that kind of stuff the focus of their coverage. There are other more important issues that get scant coverage.

    Everyone knows Newt took his marriages vows about as seriously as Bill Clinton, and a few others. Voters will make up their minds whether that’s important.

    Meanwhile, serious stuff is treated to 30-60 second soundbites. And we wonder why the public is cynical, alienated, and informed only about the deviant behavior of the candidates.

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  21. georgem says:

    Do the “rightous” among us forget John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton and his vociferous denials, John Edwards and more. Furthermore how does any of us know the real truth of these convenient allegations? Be honest with yourself. You do not!

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  22. Lets be Reasonable says:

    Could it be that the Republicans would actually nominate this guy!? The audience loved his attack on the media…Could it be that the Republicans would actually nominate this guy!? Both Newt and Mitt look pretty flawed right now, and they’re only being attacked by fellow Republicans. The sound bites that will be available for Obama are already pretty juicy. Mitt has had a number of Bush-like price of milk moments that cost him.
    “I’ll bet you $10,000…” or “I get speaker’s fees from time to time, but not very much.” His speaking fees ($374,328) alone put him in the top 1%… While folks might think success is okay, they don’t like candidates that are out of touch with the average Joe.
    It looks to me like the Republicans want to hand the next election to Obama.

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  23. Steveguy says:

    Why do we have nothing about our President’s College days ?

    No professors, classmates, nothing.

    If I was President, my classmates and acquaintances would have many things to say. There is nothing for Obama. Nothing except for Harvard Law Review. Nothing. A ghost student. Why ?

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  24. Brad says:

    It’s interesting that all the main stream media would focus on a candidates ten year old marital problems and ignore a story like one of Eric Holder’s main men in the DOJ, chief of the Criminal Division Patrick J. Cunningham, taking the Fifth when asked to testify about the botched Fast and Furious operation.

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  25. Graeme Wellington says:

    I want them to ask about Obama’s academic records. I want them to interview his friends at Harvard and Columbia and examine why the editor of the law review didn’t publish any law review articles. I want them to ask Obama about his admitted use of Cocaine and Heroin he details in his books. And how about asking about Obama’s father’s many wives and why Obama’s siblings are still living in huts in Kenya. I want them to ask Obama if he knows all the Muslim prayers and if he ever said them five times a day. Where are Obama’s ex-girlfriends – if he had any? Where are his friends — if he had any?

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  26. GAJ says:

    Newt is a fool if he didn’t think such things, out in the open as opposed to conjecture, would be brought up.

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  27. George Bright says:

    Newt is right, the “negative nature of much of the news media makes it … harder to attract decent people to run for public office” – which is why candidates like Newt Gingrich are running instead.

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  28. mockingbird says:

    Don’t you know, he’s a changed man (now that he’s running for office again I might add). He’s found religion and through that forgiveness for his sins. Everyone deserves a second chance right?
    Sorry, but I’ll bet there are few women in America that will vote for him including registered Republicans. The man is a narcisist and only thinks of himself. If he can’t treat his wives decently how can we expect that he has the voters’ backs when he’s elected?
    What irked me the most was his attack on Clinton for his escapades while asking for an open marriage to “legalize” his cheating ways. Clinton has a problem that he recognizes, Newt doesn’t see any problem with his own behavior at all.

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  29. gratcon says:

    Newt went after Clinton for the Monica Lewinsky affair in a big way. Newt left two wives while they were suffering from diseases. He is running as a candidate from the party that alledges it is all about family values. the question was fair enough. It was interesting the way he turned it around and yelled at the moderater about “don’t blame someone else”. Politics now days is as much about personalities as it is about issues. Just look at the “he pals around with terrorists” diatribe that went on last election.

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