Newt Gingrich said he would seek the criminal prosecution of the individuals responsible for emails suggesting that he had pressured his former wife to undergo an abortion procedure.
The former Speaker warned that negative campaigning would send the country into a "downward spiral" during his final campaign event before the polls open Saturday morning in South Carolina.
"I'm disgusted and fed up with the vicious minds that undermined our democracy," Gingrich said of the emails, which was masked to look like a news report from CNN and distributed to prominent South Carolina conservatives.
Gingrich also addressed the controversy surrounding his ex-wife, Marianne, who suggested in an interview earlier this week that her then-husband had requested an open relationship.
"I'm going to try to elevate the conversation in every way I can, both with the candidates and the news media," Gingrich said.
But Gingrich also demonstrated his ability to sharply punch back when a pro-Romney supporter in the crowd began shouting a demand to see the committee report from the House Ethics Committee's investigation. Mitt Romney and his surrogates had been demanding a report to deflect attention from the Speaker's call for Romney to release his tax records - a stumbling point for the former governor at this week's GOP debate.
Gingrich noted that the report was freely available online.
Actually, if you did your research you would know the whole thing is available online… when you print it out and read it, let me know if you have any more questions," Gingrich said to applause from the crowd. "I assume you're for the candidate who won't release his income tax records."
He added as the protester was escorted away, "Some people are just unhappy."