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Newt Gingrich: I Will Not Debate Obama If A Reporter Moderates

Newt Gingrich

First Posted: 01/30/2012 3:43 pm Updated: 01/30/2012 4:21 pm

GOP candidate Newt Gingrich said on Monday that if he were the Republican nominee, he would not go against President Obama in a debate if it were moderated by a reporter.

Speaking to a rally in Pensacola, Florida, Gingrich said, "As your nominee, I will not accept debates in the fall in which the reporters are the moderators. We don’t need to have a second Obama person at the debate."

During recent GOP debates, Gingrich has had testy exchanges with moderators from Fox News and CNN. When Fox News' Juan Williams asked Gingrich if some comments he made about impoverished children working as janitors could be viewed as insulting, Gingrich dismissed Williams' question. Some members of the media even thought that Gingrich was speaking in racial code when he gave Williams a fiery response.

Gingrich also attacked CNN's John King during a debate when the host asked the GOP candidate to respond to recent allegations made by his ex-wife. Gingrich blasted King's question. During last week's debate, Gingrich pushed back against a question asked by CNN's Wolf Blitzer. Blitzer held his ground and eventually, Gingrich answered a question about recent comments he made about Romney's tax returns.

This is Gingrich's second debate request in the past week. After a particularly calm debate moderated by NBC's Brian Williams last week, Gingrich said he would no longer participate in debates that prohibited audience participation. It is unclear who Gingrich would rather have moderate debates.

After hearing Gingrich's latest debate request, a Romney adviser told Politico, "I don't think Newt's going to have to worry about the format of the general election debates."

View 10 controversial debate questions in the slideshow below:
  • 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."

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Filed by Rebecca Shapiro  |