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CNN's John King Defends Asking Newt About Ex: 'Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don't

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"I knew...he was going to turn on me."

One of the most memorable moments from Thursday's debate came during the opening minutes. CNN's John King asked Newt Gingrich about his ex-wife's accusations about wanting an open marriage, and Newt let him have it. Now, we're getting King's side of the story.

During a recap with Anderson Cooper, King explained why he asked the question and even described a conversation he had with Gingrich after.

"I had a conversation with the Speaker after and said, 'Look, you've moderated these debates, this is one of those damned if you do, damned if you don't," King said. "It is a story that is making the rounds in the campaign. Is it an issue I'm happy came out in the last 48 hours of the South Carolina primary? Of course not."

Cooper then asked if he had any inclination Gingrich would respond the way he did.

"I knew he was going to challenge the question," he said. "I've been covering politics for 25 years -- I understood that if I asked the question he was not going to be happy with it and he was going to turn on me."

"It was my judgment, my decision, and mine alone. If we're going to deal with it, let's deal with it up front, let's not try to sneak it somewhere into the middle of the debate," he added.

Watch his explanation below:

By the way, HuffPo has more on Ari Fleischer's eventual disagreement with King and King's response to that.

This post has been updated for clarity.

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