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GOP Debate: Newt Gingrich Blasts CNN, ABC News, Mainstream Media Over Liberal Bias (Video)

Newt Gingrich

The candidate lashes out after host John King opens a Republican presidential debate with a question about his ex-wife, and the audience loves it.

If the opening moments of Thursday night’s CNN debate is any indication, bashing the mainstream news media over alleged biases is a surefire way to rouse the GOP faithful.

Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich earned hoots, howls and a standing ovation by laying into debate host John King for opening the debate with a personal question about the candidate’s ex-wife. The audience of like-minded potential voters loved it even more when Gingrich widened his attack to include the news media on-whole.

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“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, and I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that,” Gingrich scolded.

Video is below.

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

King, looking a bit sheepish, reminded Gingrich that it was ABC News that is behind the salacious story, set to air Thursday night on Nightline, that has Marianne Gingrich accusing her ex-husband of requesting an open marriage. Newt Gingrich, though, rejected King’s explanation.

“Don’t try to blame somebody else,” Gingrich said, wagging a finger at King as the audience cheered the candidate on. “You and your staff chose to start this debate with it.”

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As for the Nightline interview with his ex-wife, Gingrich said his two daughters “wrote the head of ABC and made the point that it was wrong, that they should pull it.”

Gingrich also said he offered several witnesses to ABC News to refute the claims of his ex-wife, but that network executives “weren’t interested because they would like to attack any Republican.”

His biggest applause line, though, concerned the media in general.

“I am tired of the elite media protecting Barack Obama by attacking Republicans,” he said.

The other three remaining candidates for the Republican nomination for president, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney, made similar attacks on the news media, and each earned applause from the audience for doing so.

An ABC News spokesman refuted the claim that they rejected witnesses who defended Gingrich and, in fact, his daughters appear in the Nightline segment.