Video follows below.

Upon introducing each presidential candidate present at CNN’s Southern debate Thursday evening, moderator John King asked Newt Gingrich about his ex-wife’s accusations that they had an “open marriage.” Gingrich was having none of it, however, and in a fiery display, castigated King and “the elite media.”

(Related: John King defends the question – “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t)

Asked if he wanted to respond to his ex-wife’s claims, Gingrich blazed, “No. But I will. I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country.”

He added that this type of negativity prevents “decent people” from seeking public office.

“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.”

The crowd erupted in applause.

“I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that!”

“Every person in here knows personal pain, Gingrich elaborated. “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.”

“I am frankly astounded that CNN would take trash like that and use it to open a presidential debate.”

When King attempted to explain that it was not his network that aired the report, Gingrich would not let him off that easy. Incensed, he roared, “Don’t try to blame anybody else. You and your staff chose to start your debate with it. Let me be clear, the story is false.”

“John, it was repeated by your network. You chose to start the debate with it.”

He added, “The story is false.”

“Every personal friend I have who knew us in that period says the story is 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..I am tired of the elite media protecting Barack Obama by attacking Republicans.”

Watch the clip below: