By Jackson Booth, Contributor
The CNN Southern Republican debate in South Carolina began with controversy last Thursday night. Former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, was promptly questioned by CNN moderator John King about his ex-wife’s accusations of Gingrich wanting an “open marriage” while they were together. Gingrich was not pleased with this question.
“I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country,” Gingrich said. “I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that.”
Luckily, this debacle lasted all but four minutes, however, the accusations between the Republican candidates did not end here.
All of the candidates criticized President Obama’s plan to overhaul the healthcare insurance system and his failed economic policies.
Some of the other topics of contention were the new anti-piracy bills known as SOPA and PIPA, job creation and the credibility of each of the candidates.
This debate was fairly typical in that the candidates attacked one another and the incumbent president, but there were several important aspects of the debate that grabbed my attention.
Congressman Ron Paul was hardly included during the questioning until the latter portion of the debate. Most of the focus was on Romney, Gingrich, and Santorum. This uneven distribution of coverage caused me to lose respect for CNN. Paul has always been the odd man out in the election, but he continues to receive the brunt of indifference in the media. I find that disturbing from a journalistic standpoint.
Another troublesome aspect of the debate, Santorum fervently attacked both Romney and Gingrich on issues regarding healthcare and their stance on the role of government. It seemed Santorum shifted most of his effort toward diminishing his colleagues’ credibility, while offering little information on his strategy to beat President Obama.
Romney was reluctant to share his tax returns for the last fiscal year. He was the only candidate that stumbled over his words and many voters and pundits hold this against the former governor.
As a result of the lack of coverage of Paul, the cowardice of Romney in sharing his tax information, and Santorum’s combativeness, it is fair to say that Gingrich won the debate.
Gingrich offered honest and bold solutions to the economy, healthcare, immigration, etc., and he is not afraid to stand by his convictions. In spite of his flaws, Gingrich presented himself to be the only candidate with the nerve to beat Obama and get this country back in order.