• The Hollywood Reporter on LinkedIn
  • Follow THR on Pinterest

CNN Analyst: Newt Gingrich, John King Exchange Is 'One of the Most Explosive' in Debate History (Video)

Newt Gingrich

The debate moderator explains why he asked the presidential hopeful about his former wife and David Gergen says the candidate's answer was one of the "harshest attacks" on media in modern history.

Newt Gingrich’s opening salvo against “elite media” during Thursday night’s CNN debate was “one of the most explosive moments that we have seen in debate history,” political analyst David Gergen told Anderson Cooper.

PHOTOS: The GOP Presidential Candidates And the First Spouse Hopefuls

After CNN ended its debate between the Republican presidential candidates, Cooper hosted a roundtable discussion of what had transpired and much of the discussion was focused on the first question from debate host John King and Gingrich’s fiery answer.

“It was one of the harshest attacks we’ve had on the press that I can remember in a long, long time,” Gergen told Cooper and the other panelists.

Video is below.

King’s question concerned an ABC News Nightline segment Thursday where Marianne Gingrich spoke ill of her ex-husband. Newt Gingrich called the question “trash” and blasted King and CNN for opening the debate with it, then accused the media in general of attacking Republicans in order to defend Democrats and President Barack Obama.

After the debate, Cooper asked King about the exchange.

VIDEO: GOP Debate: Newt Gingrich Blasts CNN, ABC News, Mainstream Media Over Liberal Bias

“I have been covering politics for 25 years,” King said. “ 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.  Knew that coming in. 

Again, you make a judgment call.”

“Of course he's going to attack us,” King continued. “I don't take that personally.  We had a nice conversation afterwards.  I've had a long relationship with the speaker.  We don't always get along, but I get how the business works.”