Politico | The Daily Beast
After Newt Gingrich effectively used a question from moderator John King to attack the media in last week’s South Carolina debate, it wasn’t surprising that he’d try it again in Thursday’s debate. But this time, unlike in Monday’s debate on NBC, the audience wasn’t asked to remain silent.
So when CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Gingrich if he was satisfied with Mitt Romney’s income tax disclosures, Gingrich responded, “This is a nonsense question” — to loud applause from the audience. (Although, in keeping with his good relationship with members of the press, he first told Blitzer, “You and I have a long relationship, going back a long way.”) When Blitzer pressed the question, the audience loudly booed.
And yet, media observers concluded, the audience didn’t help Gingrich much. The Daily Beast’s Howard Kurtz concludes:
There was plenty of media chatter after the Tampa debate that the silence of the crowd, admonished by Brian Williams to stay quiet, hurt Gingrich. But the audience did nothing to help Newt on Thursday night.
Related: Gingrich campaign claims debate hall was packed with Romney supporters (The Huffington Post) | Earlier: Fox News exec says a debate with a silent audience “is like a movie without a soundtrack.” (The New York Times)