The Note’s Must-Reads for Friday, January 20, 2012

By Jacqueline Fernandez

Jan 20, 2012 3:23am

Compiled by ABC News Digital News Associates Jacqueline Fernandez, Jayce Henderson, and Amanda VanAllen

SOUTH CAROLINA DEBATE
The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker and Rosalind Helderman: “At South Carolina GOP debate, four survivors spar; Gingrich adds host to the fray” In an electric debate here Thursday night, the four remaining Republican presidential candidates clashed sharply over who has the temperament, character and know-how to lead the party into a general election as they clamored to take advantage of the race’s changing dynamic. LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Patrick O’ Connor and Neil King Jr.: “Fewer Debaters, Plenty of Heat” Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich kicked off Thursday’s final debate before the South Carolina primary by taking the media to task for asking a question about one of his marriages, setting the tone for a combative debate among the four remaining GOP candidates. LINK

Politico’s Maggie Haberman: “South Carolina Republican debate: 6 takeaways” In less than 48 hours, Newt Gingrich will know if his good night was good enough. The former House Speaker was the standout — and early — star of Thursday’s CNN-hosted Republican debate in South Carolina, the last before voting begins in the first-in-the-South primary. LINK

NEWT GINGRICH
ABC News’ Brian Ross and Rhonda Schwartz: “Exclusive: Gingrich Lacks Moral Character to Be President, Ex-Wife Says” Newt Gingrich lacks the moral character to serve as President, his second ex-wife Marianne told ABC News, saying his campaign positions on the sanctity of marriage and the importance of family values do not square with what she saw during their 18 years of marriage.  In her first television interview since the 1999 divorce, to be broadcast tonight on Nightline, Marianne Gingrich, a self-described conservative Republican, said she is coming forward now so voters can know what she knows about Gingrich. LINK

ABC News’ Chris Good and Elicia Dover: “Highlights From Newt Gingrich’s 2010 Tax Returns” Newt Gingrich’s tax returns aren’t the flashiest or the most complicated, but the former House speaker pulled in quite a few dollars in 2010. Gingrich and his wife, Callista, made an adjusted gross income of $3,142,066 in 2010-most of it from one of Gingrich’s companies, Gingrich Holdings, Inc., headquartered on K Street in downtown Washington, D.C. LINK

The New York Times’ Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny: “Gingrich Jousts With Rivals on Matters Professional and Personal” Newt Gingrich angrily turned aside questions about his marital history at the outset of the final Republican presidential debate before the South Carolina primary, and then aggressively took on Mitt Romney and the other remaining candidates in a raucous confrontation on Thursday night about immigration, abortion, conservative credentials and electability. LINK

The Washington Times’ Stephen Dinan: “Gingrich assails infidelity charges in S.C. debate” Besieged by accusations from one of his former wives of marital problems, Newt Gingrich on Thursday night fired back, blaming the press for carrying the story and calling it “trash,” as he and the three remaining Republican candidates held their final debate before South Carolina’s primary on Saturday. LINK

The Hills’ Justin Sink and Cameron Joseph: “Gingrich’s attack on the media sets feisty tone for GOP debate” A fiery attack by Newt Gingrich on the news media for raising questions about his acrimonious divorce set the tone for a bruising Republican presidential debate that featured tough critiques of the presumptive front-runners – and more gaffes for Mitt Romney. Gingrich was pressed by moderator John King to comment about recent interviews given by Gingrich’s second ex-wife, Marianne, in which she said that Gingrich had requested an open relationship. LINK

The New York Daily News’ Jonathan Lemire, Alison Gendar and Bill Hutchinson: “Newt Gingrich lashes out at media for reporting ex-wife’s ’false’ claim that he wanted an open marriage” He might be the Swinger-in-Chief. Newt Gingrich’s second ex-wife dropped a bombshell Thursday, claiming the White House hopeful – now soaring in the South Carolina polls – once asked her for an open marriage. LINK

MITT ROMNEY
The Los Angeles Times’ James Oliphant: “Romney pledges to release tax returns if he’s GOP nominee” Under fire from his GOP rivals, Mitt Romney on Thursday pledged to eventually release his tax returns, but suggested they would be made public only after he had secured the presidential nomination. “I’ll release my returns in April, and probably for other years as well,” Romney said at the Republican debate in South Carolina, adding that he would do so if he were the nominee. LINK

OTHER
The USA Today’s Susan Page and Jackie Kucinich: “A fierce debate caps a rollercoaster day in Republican race” A debate that featured fierce exchanges among Republican presidential contenders Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum began with an extraordinary rebuke of another figure on stage: moderator John King of CNN. In his opening question, King asked Gingrich whether he wanted to respond to allegations by an ex-wife that he had asked her for an “open marriage” that would allow him to continue an affair he was having with a staffer. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEOS
Newt Gingrich’s Personal Life Questioned in DebateLINK
Gov. Rick Perry Drops Out of 2012 RaceLINK  

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