S.C. Dirty Tricks Try To Stop Gingrich, Santorum

South Carolina has a reputation to uphold when it comes to political dirty tricks. So it likely surprised no one to learn that a trick aimed at stopping Newt Gingrich's momentum emerged Friday, phony emails made to look like they came from CNN (they didn't) which reported the the allegation that former House speaker pressured his ex-wife, Marianne to have an abortion.

CNN reported on its blog:

"CNN did not send out the email alert.

"It's not clear how many people received the fake email, though at least two members of the South Carolina GOP Executive Committee, who did not want to be named, were among those who found the missive in their inboxes this morning.

"Two South Carolina Republicans from different parts of the state independently informed CNN about the email on Friday morning.

"The email alert was sent from fake account made to look like a CNN breaking news email address: 'BreakingNews@mail.cnn.com.' "

FITSNEWS.com, as in first-in-the-South, an irreverent website devoted to politics and other news in the Palmetto State, has posted the text of the fake email.

The CBC.com news website out of Canada reports that another dirty trick involved an allegation about someone Rick Santorum's wife allegedly dated before she married the presidential candidate.

In a makeshift media room in the TD Arena in Charleston, S.C., Rick Santorum clutched his wife tightly as he responded to a question about a flyer campaign accusing her of having had a relationship years ago with an abortion doctor.

"I don't think I need to comment about scurrilous and ugly campaign tactics," the candidate seeking the Republican presidential nomination said, moments after giving a speech to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference.

South Carolinans are so cynical about the sorts of things that happen in campaigns in their state that many chalk up the ABC News interview in which Marianne Gingrich said the former speaker asked for an open marriage as a dirty trick. That may be why many South Carolina voters seemed inclined to dismiss that story and move on.

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