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"This story is false. Every personal friend I had in that period says the story was false. We offered several of them to ABC to prove it was false. They weren’t interested because they would like to attack any Republican. They’re attacking the governor, they’re attacking me, I’m sure they’ll get around to Sen. Santorum, and Congressman Paul. I am tired of the elite media protecting Barack Obama by attacking Republicans."
That was Newt Gingrich's memorable response last week to moderator John King after he opened the CNN debate with a question about Gingrich's ex-wife's claims that the GOP hopeful sought an open marriage. The rant was a crowd pleaser and not only allowed Gingrich to shake off the rather explosive allegations, but even to gain a little more of the all-important political momentum.
There's only one problem: Gingrich's camp now admits that the candidate was less than truthful during the debate -- and in a follow-up interview with CNN -- about who, exactly, he offered to ABC to refute the story. CNN reports that after "persistent" questions on the topic, Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond now says that the only people the campaign offered to ABC were the former House speaker's two daughters, Jackie Cushman and Kathy Gingrich Lubbers, who regularly appear on the campaign trail and who wrote a letter to ABC News defending their father that was widely circulated in the media.
That admission backs up ABC's on-the-record denial of Gingrich's original claim, something that Gingrich deemed "just plain baloney" on Tuesday. "If they're saying that, then they're not being honest," Gingrich said then. "We had several people prepared to be very clear and very aggressive in their dispute about that, and (ABC News) wasn't interested."
So there you have it. The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple put it best: "What CNN pried out of Gingrich & Co. was something akin to a correction. And like most corrections, it hits the public realm with a much smaller splash than the original erroneous accusation."