They say that the best defense is a good offense. Well, Newt Gingrich certainly got “offensive” at the beginning of the Republican presidential debate from South Carolina, broadcast on CNN last night.
The moderator, John King, ought to have known that, unlike Mitt Romney, Gingrich would be well-prepared to answer the charges. It also was a poor question. In an effort to be tough, Mr. King served up a softball to Mr. Gingrich that allowed him to go on the offensive by sticking to his standard, tired, offensive narrative of Republican victimization by the “liberal” media. Of course, he would knock it out of the park. Sneering, angry, attacking responses is what the candidate does best.
John King could have framed the question better to make it more relevant to the task at hand. Or he could have held on to the question, like he did the Romney tax release question, until an opening arose in the course of the debate that would have made the question organically relevant. Perhaps then it could have been asked in a way that demanded a thoughtful response rather than a tirade against the media. At the very least, Mr. King would not have had to be so defensive about the question, if he had been able to make it more relevant. At the end of the day, Gingrich ought to send King a fruit basket in gratitude. I think Mr. King may have handed the South Carolina Primary to Mr. Gingrich on a silver platter.