It's the presidential debate question that America just can't stop talking about. Regardless of where one stands on the appropriateness of CNN's John King asking GOP candidate Newt Gingrich about his ex-wife's "open marriage" claims at last week's Southern debate, a new admission from the Gingrich campaign is noteworthy.
Now, following the candidate's insistance that ABC ignored individuals the campaign offered up to counter his ex's story, the campaign is conceding that Gingrich's claims -- both in the original debate and during a follow-up interview -- were, well, bologna.
On Tuesday, Gingrich and King faced off on CNN to discuss their uncomfortable debate exchange. As we reported, Gingrich, again, insisted that his campaign had offered up character witnesses who were willing to refute his ex-wife's story, but that ABC News (the network that aired the bombshell interview with Marianne Gingrich) refused to interview them. When King said that ABC claims they would have talked to these people, but that the campaign never brought them forward, Gingrich claimed this simply wasn't true. “Oh, that is just plain bologna!," he responded.
But on Wednesday, the Gingrich campaign finally conceded that the claims that they brought sympathetic pro-Gingrich interview subjects to ABC's attention and that the network declined to interview them simply aren't true -- at least not in the framework through which the claims were originally presented.
During the debate, Gingrich said, "Every personal friend I have who knew us in that period says the story was false. We offered several of them to ABC to prove it was false." But the campaign now says that no friends were offered up.
"Tonight, after persistent questioning by our staff, the Gingrich campaign concedes now Speaker Gingrich was wrong — both in his debate answer, and in our interview yesterday," King reported. "Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond says the only people the Gingrich campaign offered to ABC were his two daughters from his first marriage."
Watch King deliver this news, below:
POLITICO calls this admission, "An important victory for John King in his ongoing effort to justify last Thursday's confrontation."