The Daily Show: The Gingrich who stole South Carolina

By The Daily Show
From the January 26, 2012 edition

It looked like Mitt Romney had the Republican presidential race pretty much sewn up with most of the polls showing him as the leader. Then Newt Gingrich won the South Carolina primary with 40 percent of the vote, and Romney finished with 28 percent.

Gingrich smoked Romney by 12 points. That’s like beating him by four game-winning overtime field goals — go Giants! Man, that was an awesome game.

So how did Gingrich do this? How did he turn it around? At the debate before the South Carolina primary’s final vote, moderator John King asked Gingrich about accusations from his possibly M.S.-stricken second wife. She said Gingrich wanted her to be open to him having sex with another lady with whom he had already been having sex for six years.

See, South Carolinians are values voters, but Gingrich’s response to being asked about his alleged infidelities is the moment where values voters’ supposed disgust over the moral turpitude in politicians was knocked out cold by their anger at the right’s supposed victimization by the media.

“I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that. … I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country. … 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,” Gingrich said.

As close to despicable as you can imagine!? You imagined your wife while dealing with M.S. would be open to you having sex with another lady you’d already been having sex with for six years! I think you’ve got a pretty good imagination, despicability-wise.

How dare you, sir, in front of all the good people of South Carolina, ask me about something as tawdry as my three somewhat overlapping marriages?

Now, King should’ve crushed Gingrich on this. All he had to do was point out the hypocrisy of Gingrich, as a family values crusader who presided over Congress at the time of the Republicans’ Bill Clinton penis scavenger hunt, suddenly finding that question unseemly.

Or point out the hypocrisy of a man who insists that gay people would sully the sanctity of marriage whilst being a career marriage-sanctity sullier. Instead …

“This story did not come from our network. You also know this is a subject of conversation on the campaign,” King said.

Great, we’ve got the moderator of a debate evading questions now. How weird is this whole thing getting? Well, Gingrich is now running on the platform that he’s “the outsider who scares the Republican establishment,” “has no ties to the power structure” and that he “was never a lobbyist” calling himself “a small business owner.”

Gingrich’s small business involves selling access to the insides of Washington. He’s not a Washington insider — the former Speaker of the House and Freddie Mac consulting millionaire? He’s so inside that when Washington gets its prostate checked, it tickles Gingrich.