Will We See a 'Newt Versus CNN' Rematch at Tonight's Debate?

When John King opened the last CNN-hosted GOP debate with a question regarding Newt Gingrich’s ex-wife, Newt lit into him, putting King on the defensive early. In fact, King remained defensive during CNN’s post-debate report.

“This story did not come from our network,” King contended. “As you also know, it is the subject of conversation on the campaign. I get your point, I take -“

Since the debate, King hasn’t let the issue go. He’s been making media appearances –after the fact–to bolster what many believe was a poor decision. Frankly, it’s hard to envision any mainstream media moderator opening up a Democrat debate with that type of question. They’d be more likely to claim it shouldn’t be asked, as it was the candidate’s personal life, none of our business, and didn’t impact on their ability to govern.

King on Gingrich Question: ‘It was my judgment, my decision, and mine alone’

“I have been covering politics for 25 years,” King told Anderson Cooper after the debate. “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.”

“It was my judgment, my decision, and mine alone,” King said. “If we’re going to deal with it, let’s deal with it up front, let’s not try to sneak it into the middle of the debate somewhere. And people at home either agree with that or disagree with that. You make the decision, you ask the question, and this is politics.”

Evidently, CNN then decided to dog Newt over a statement he made at the debate. Funny, one would think the statements from Gingrich’s daughters would be enough, though he did seem to overplay his hand in the debate by saying friends could speak to it. Honestly, I can understand how he, or anyone else might make a blanket statement like that without thinking it through. Any friends might be able to speak to this, or that, aspect of the marriage, but how would one know whether or not a specific question had been asked of Marianne Gingrich? Thus, Newt did open himself up for this. To me, that King has pursued it so vigorously is the more telling development.

“Tonight, after persistent questioning by our staff, the Gingrich campaign concedes now Speaker Gingrich was wrong — both in his debate answer, and in our interview yesterday,” King said on tonight’s edition of John King USA. “Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond says the only people the Gingrich campaign offered to ABC were his two daughters from his first marriage.”

An important victory for John King in his ongoing effort to justify last Thursday’s confrontation.

Tonight’s festivities will be hosted by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, not John King. Gingrich likely addressed the topic with CNN yesterday to close the door on CNN raising that aspect of the issue tonight. Still, it should be interesting to see if Wolf decides to somehow champion his colleague, King, by re-visiting it in some way.

Jacksonville, Florida (CNN) – I am blessed with a great team of producers and researchers who have helped me craft a lot of strong questions for tonight’s Republican presidential debate here on the campus of the University of North Florida. First of all, let me thank them. Hopefully, I won’t disappoint our viewers tonight.

Polls suggest Romney attacks on Gingrich, many of them misleading, have done their job, giving Mitt perhaps a single digit lead in Florida, after having fallen behind. Given that, it may well be Newt Gingrich spoiling for some type of fight tonight in an effort to try and bump his numbers back up to where they were just after the previous debate. Tune in at 8PM tonight if you want to find out.