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Wolf Blitzer On Newt Gingrich Debate Tension: I Didn't Back Down (VIDEO)

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 01/26/2012 10:41 pm Updated: 01/27/2012 3:06 pm

Following the CNN Republican primary debate on Thursday night, moderator Wolf Blitzer discussed how he stood his ground when challenged by GOP candidate Newt Gingrich.

Gingrich had a fiery response in store for Blitzer after the moderator asked the candidate if he was "satisfied...with the level of transparency as far as [Mitt Romney's] personal finances?" Blitzer was referring to Romney's recent release of his tax records.

Gingrich called Blitzer's question "nonsense," which caused the audience to erupt with applause. He then proposed that the four of the candidates "agree for the rest of the evening to only talk about issues that relate to governing America."

Blitzer fired back at Gingrich. He continued to press the candidate on answering the question until he responded. "If you make a serious accusation against Governor Romney like that, you need to explain that," Blitzer told Gingrich.

Following the debate, Blitzer discussed the heated exchange with Anderson Cooper, who was moderating the network's post-debate analysis.

Cooper described the exchange as "really interesting" and said that it seemed to contribute "to the idea that...Newt Gingrich was somewhat flat tonight." Blitzer said that Gingrich was the one that had "raised the issue" and made what he called "very serious allegations against Mitt Romney."

Blitzer later acknowledged, "He didn't want to talk about that, and then when I finally pressed him on it and didn't back down, he responded."

Watch the video of the testy exchange between Blitzer and Gingrich below:

Some other controversial moments from the GOP debates.
  • Juan Williams and Newt Gingrich

    In South Carolina, Juan Williams suggested that Gingrich's comments about blacks and food stamps were insulting to all Americans, especially black Americans. Gingrich fiercely denied those charges, and doubled down on his comments -- and got a standing ovation from the audience.

  • John King and Newt Gingrich

    John King began CNN's South Carolina debate by asking Gingrich about his ex-wife's explosive interview. Gingrich responded with a searing condemnation of the question, and the "elite media."

  • Wolf Blitzer and Ron Paul

    One of the most discussed moments of the GOP debates came when Wolf Blitzer questioned Ron Paul about his views on health care. Members of the audience cheered when Blitzer asked if society should let an uninsured man die.

  • George Stephanopoulos and Mitt Romney

    George Stephanopoulos asked Mitt Romney whether states could legally ban contraception. Romney was offended by the question, and said there was no point to it because no state was considering doing so.

  • John King and Mitt Romney

    John King asked Mitt Romney if he planned to follow in the footsteps of his father -- who once ran for president -- and release his tax returns. Romney said, "Maybe," prompting boos from the audience.

  • Byron York and Michele Bachmann

    Byron York asked Michele Bachmann if she would be submissive to her husband as president.

  • Megyn Kelly and Rick Santorum

    Members of the audience booed when Megyn Kelly replayed a clip of a gay soldier asking the candidates whether they would reinstate DADT.

  • Brian Williams and Rick Perry

    Brian Williams asked Rick Perry if he ever had trouble sleeping over the possibility that one of the 234 prisoners who were executed during his term could have been innocent. The audience cheered at the mention of 234 executions, and Williams also asked Perry what he made of that reaction.

  • Chris Wallace and Rick Perry

    Chris Wallace asked Rick Perry to defend his decision to allow undocumented college students to pay in-state tuition. Perry was booed when he said that people who do not believe in educating undocumented students do not have a heart.

  • Chris Wallace and Newt Gingrich

    Chris Wallace and Newt Gingrich got into a hostile exchange at a debate in Iowa after Wallace asked him to explain reports that his campaign staff had quit en masse. Gingrich accused the Fox News panelists of playing "Mickey Mouse games."