Gingrich's Past An Issue

Friday, January 20, 2012 - 11:46am

At the GOP debate the person with the greatest impact didn't even attend.

Polls open tomorrow in South Carolina. Republican Presidential candidates held a second debate there last night.

But instead of focusing on taxes, the military or the economy, the first big issue to come up was Newt Gingrich's personal life.

There were four candidates on stage, plus one person who wasn't there but had a big influence on how this debate started.

Newt Gingrich's wife of 18 years told ABC he cheated on her while publicly promoting family values. "He wanted an open marriage and I refused," said Marianne Gingrich, Newt Gingrich's Ex-Wife.

Gingrich admits being unfaithful, but chided CNN for making it question number one, "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. . . "Let me be quite clear. The story is false," said Newt Gingrich, (R) Presidential Candidate.

The report aired just hours after Rick Perry dropped out, and endorsed Gingrich.

Rick Santorum questions whether Gingrich's past could cost Republicans the election. "I love him, but at times you just got to -- you know, sort of that, you know, worrisome moment that something's gonna pop. And we can't afford that in a nominee," said Rick Santorum (R) Presidential Candidate.

Mitt Romney still says he'll wait till April to release his tax returns. "I obviously pay all full taxes. I'm honest in my dealings with people. People understand that," said Mitt Romney, (R) Presidential Candidate.

Gingrich released his tax returns. He earned just over three million and paid almost a million in taxes last year.

Ron paul says he has no intention of releasing his returns. "Nobody's challenging me because I have no conflict of interest and I don't even talk to lobbyists," said Ron Paul (R) Presidential Candidate.

CNN's latest poll shows Romney's still leading with Gingrich 10 points behind, but Gingrich is gaining support, and Romney is slipping.

Tracie Potts, NBC News, Washington.

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