Newt Gingrich expressed justifiable (if predictable) outrage at John King’s decision to open last week’s CNN debate with a question about charges leveled against him by his ex-wife, Marianne Gingrich. His response went beyond chastising the “elite media” for misplaced priorities. He also claimed the charges were false and that the ABC News story was unfair, in part, because ABC failed to interview those put forward by the campaign to refute Marianne Gingrich’s charges. Writing in the Daily Beast, noted D.C. lawyer Victoria Toensing (who is “representing Marianne Gingrich in her dealings with the media”) claims this is untrue. According to ABC, the network interviewed those put forward by the campaign, and that neither the campaign, nor its surrogates, offered anything to contradict Marianne Gingrich’s claims.
Newt next claimed to CNN that “we offered several of [these friends] to ABC to prove [Marianne’s statement] was false. They weren’t interested because they would like to attack any Republican.” Only it was Newt’s statement that was false. ABC immediately refuted his assertion. ABC Senior News Vice President Jeffrey Schneider stated: “That’s just not true. His daughters were interviewed for our Nightline story last night and we sought interviews with Gingrich or surrogates very aggressively starting Tuesday morning. We would have been happy to interview anyone they put forward.”
In fact, according to ABC, the campaign said it was “going to provide somebody who would answer point by point everything” Marianne said, but “it had not done so as of” the morning of the broadcast. Has any reporter asked the campaign for the names of the people Newt claimed ABC refused to air?