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Is ABC News helping or hurting Newt?

Posted by Richard on January 18, 2012

Matt Drudge reports that ABC News is sitting on an interview with Newt Gingrich’s first wife, Marianne, that contains “explosive revelations.” On my way home, I heard Hugh Hewitt tell his radio audience that they’re withholding the interview until after the South Carolina primary in order to protect Newt and hurt Romney in that state. But now, on his website, he’s acknowledged another possibility:

… The leak of the story of the interview of Marianne Gingrich without details may actually do more damage to Newt than the interview itself, but it is amazing that a network news operation is sitting on a big story three days before an election.

I question Hewitt’s original contention, as well as his use of “actually” and “but” in that sentence. I think it’s likely that the story was leaked to hurt Gingrich, not Romney. The MSM have been largely pro-Romney (after the attempt to elevate Huntsman’s candidacy fizzled). As in 2008, they’re favoring the most moderate Republican — until after he’s nominated, and then they’ll suddenly discover that he’s a right-wing extremist.

South Carolina has a high percentage of evangelical voters. Leaking the claim that Gingrich’s first wife has dirt on him is going to be damaging even if her revelations later turn out to be no big deal. If nothing else, it reminds those evangelicals of Gingrich’s sorry marital history.

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