Newt Gingrich fought to stay on message and not let recent personal revelations dominate the conversation during the final GOP debate before the South Carolina primaries on Saturday.
The former House speaker lashed out at CNN moderator John King Thursday night for starting the proceeding by questioning the former Speaker of the House about allegations that he wanted an open marriage with ex-wife Marianne Gingrich so that he could carry on an affair with Callista Bisek whom he eventually married.
"I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that," Gingrich told King. "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."
Media outlets noted the confrontational response makes the question appear trivial and not worthy of an answer. It also played to the audience.
The allegations don't appear to have hurt Gingrich's chance of winning the GOP nomination, though. After finishing fourth in both Iowa and New Hampshire, he has lead Mitt Romney in every single poll taken Wednesday night or later.