Ahead of Marianne Gingrich's ABC Nightline Interview, Newt Gingrich Faces Character Questions at Republican Debate

For a debate that is so close to a major juncture in this primary season, the GOP contest on Thursday night in South Carolina fell flat for me. It mostly contained the same elements we've heard in every other Republican debate: Mitt Romney explaining his healthcare law in Massachusetts and his business career, Rick Santorum attacking Romney’s conservative bona fides, Newt Gingrich making grandiose claims about his candidacy, and Ron Paul was ... well, Ron Paul. All four candidates took several jabs at President Barack Obama

The real story of the night was something that was addressed right at the outset ­– Newt Gingrich’s second wife's releasing controversial comments about his moral character. This is nothing new for Gingrich but you could tell he was a little irate about the whole issue, given that his values are now under further scrutiny right before a primary with a significant evangelical population. To add to the aura of tension in the hall, the debate occurred just hours before Marianne Gingrich was slated to broadcast on ABC’s Nightline about the breakdown of her marriage to the former Speaker in the late 90s.

Romney continued to project himself as a general election candidate, rather than a candidate for the GOP’s nomination, and it showed yet again tonight. Santorum did seem a little perplexed and the thin, but significant level of sweat on his brow just reinforced his come-from-behind ethos. He knows he has his political back against the wall and that he must defeat Ron Paul in the South Carolina primary in order to stay relevant as the fight for first has basically come down to a duel between Gingrich and Romney. 

In the end, all things considered, this Republican debate was more or less what we have been hearing from this field for roughly the last month or so. The personal attacks and the sales pitch from each of the candidates are stagnant and could have been said at any of the previous three thousand Republican debates.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Tyler Kuhn

My name is Tyler Kuhn and I am a member of the class of 2014 at Dartmouth College. I am double major in government (with a concentration in American politics) and history (with a concentration in the history of warfare). I am a lifelong resident of a small town in Ohio (Hudson). My primary political interest are the deficit, the budget, congressional politics and state / federal elections. For me, the battle over the deficit and the budget are fascinating because I believe they will be the defining issues of this political generation. Additionally, I enjoy reading about the interworkings of Capital Hill and elections because policy battles are won and loss in those arenas. Also, I served as a congressional page on the floor of the House of Representatives in the 110th Congress.

MORE FROM

Hillary Clinton says Republicans will be the "death party" if they pass health care bill

Hillary Clinton spoke out against the Republican's proposed bill on Twitter.

It's time to redefine the clitoris, according to sex education experts

"Words matter. They shape and mold our ideas and beliefs about our purpose, our bodies, our self-worth and our place in the world around us."

Al-Jazeera becomes a target amid Qatar diplomatic crisis

Gulf states are demanding the broadcaster be shut down.

5 blocks of London apartments to be evacuated over potentially flammable cladding

800 North London apartments will be evacuated following a fire inspection that turned up evidence that the buildings could be unsafe.

Tomi Lahren wants to rally women to her side after criticizing feminists and "pro-choicers"

"My view on abortion is not black-and-white," Lahren said.

These 5 states are drafting laws to limit protests on college campuses

The legislation is intended to protect free speech on campus.

Hillary Clinton says Republicans will be the "death party" if they pass health care bill

Hillary Clinton spoke out against the Republican's proposed bill on Twitter.

It's time to redefine the clitoris, according to sex education experts

"Words matter. They shape and mold our ideas and beliefs about our purpose, our bodies, our self-worth and our place in the world around us."

Al-Jazeera becomes a target amid Qatar diplomatic crisis

Gulf states are demanding the broadcaster be shut down.

5 blocks of London apartments to be evacuated over potentially flammable cladding

800 North London apartments will be evacuated following a fire inspection that turned up evidence that the buildings could be unsafe.

Tomi Lahren wants to rally women to her side after criticizing feminists and "pro-choicers"

"My view on abortion is not black-and-white," Lahren said.

These 5 states are drafting laws to limit protests on college campuses

The legislation is intended to protect free speech on campus.