CHARLESTON, S.C. (CBS) – The debate delved right into the interview making headlines with Newt Gingrich’s ex-wife.
She told ABC news that Gingrich wanted an “open marriage” to allow him to be with his then mistress, now current wife, Callista.
Gingrich lashed out at the media, blaming them for the “vicious nature” of the questioning and said he was “appalled” that moderator John King would begin a presidential debate with a topic like that.
WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson reports
He claimed the media was protecting Barack Obama with questions like that.
Gingrich’s rivals declined to respond.
Mitt Romney said, “Let’s get onto the real issues.”
Those issues included a look at Romney’s career at Bain, his tax records, and his pro-life views.
Romney defended his work and wealth, saying “I’m not going to apoligize for being successful.”
He said he will release this years taxes and other years in April. And he reiterated that he is “pro-life.”
Rick Santorum took swings at both front runners.
He said, “Grandiosity has never been a problem for Newt Gingrich.”
Santorum said he didn’t want a nominee who he was worried about what he’d say next.
This was a crucial debate for the candidates, with Romney and Gingrich in a statistical dead heat in South Carolina.
About a quarter of GOP voters here say they are still undecided.