FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
As Newt Gingrich continues his meteoric rise in the polls, there's one key issue that could hold him back: Character. Or will it?
A new Quinnipiac Poll shows the former House Speaker scores higher than Mitt Romney on most key leadership traits - except for personal character.
For example: Republican voters say Newt Gingrich is a stronger leader than Romney - by 34% to 24%.
They say he's stronger on foreign policy... 46% to 16%.
And they say Gingrich has the right "knowledge and experience" to be president - by 48% to 22%. These are huge margins.
But Gingrich trails Romney 32% to 9% when it comes to who has a "strong moral character."
A lot of that likely goes back to Gingrich's personal baggage, including his three marriages and his infidelity.
Overall, Gingrich places at the top of the Republican pack in this survey, with 26% compared to Romney's 22%. In a head-to-head match-up, Gingrich does even better, topping Romney by 10 points.
But it might not matter. Even though Republicans find Gingrich competent and ready to deal with the nation's problems, they worry about his character.
And this is at least part of the reason why: By a double-digit margin, Republicans say Romney has the best chance of beating President Obama; and by an overwhelming margin, they say Romney is most likely to be the Republican nominee.
It's interesting that at a time when our nation is facing a boatload of very serious problems - from the national debt to the economy, unemployment, ongoing wars, etc. - a lot of people are more hung up on personal character than about the ability to lead.
Here’s my question to you: When it comes to being president, which is more important: the ability to solve the country's problems or personal character?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
The ability to solve problems. Nothing else matters. This is not the Miss America contest.
Dea in Fayetteville, North Carolina:
I'd choose character over ability, because ability based on lies, manipulations, and backroom deals is not worth the price we pay in the end.
Emmett in Mobile, Alabama:
Dear Jack, Solving problems is more important. Richard Nixon would make a better president than most of the characters who want to be president now. America has too many idealistic, political morons who are ruining this country! Where is Theodore Roosevelt when we need him?
Bradley in Philadelphia:
Without personal character, people try to appear to solve problems by looking good rather than doing good. And that does no good at all.
Well, Obama's star quality and personal character got him elected and look at where we are today. He's in way over his head. We need a problem solver in 2012.
Sylvia in San Diego:
The ability to solve the country’s problems by far outweighs personal character. Do you think that Kennedy or Clinton with their "personal baggage" would get elected today? Bottom line, I am tired of incompetence. We need someone in the White House who can run a country.
This is a "he can't walk and chew gum at the same time" question. History is filled with ruthless thugs who "made the trains run on time", and with "nice incompetents". Why can't we have both, for once?