FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
It was only a matter of time. It always is.
With Newt Gingrich suddenly rising big time in the polls, his opponents are starting to make an issue of his personal baggage. The tabloid stuff - like the fact that the former house speaker is on his third marriage and is an adulterer.
Politico reports that there's a flyer circulating in Iowa from a group called Christian Leaders in Government.
Among other things, it asks: If Newt Gingrich can't be faithful to his wife, how can we trust him to be faithful to conservative voters?"
Airing a candidate's dirty laundry is nothing new... especially in the primaries in early voting states.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that while there have been several presidents unfaithful to their wives, Ronald Reagan has been the only divorced president. Gingrich has both strikes against him.
Experts say Gingrich will have to address his personal past, but some believe voters won't dwell on it. Like him or not, Gingrich is a smart guy who might be the most capable of the current GOP batch of dealing with the critical issues we face. The bar isn't exactly high.
Plus half of Americans get divorced these days. And if every politician who has been unfaithful left office, Washington would be a ghost town.
But not everyone thinks it's not that big a deal. A columnist at Salon.com writes that Gingrich "committed so many political and ethical transgressions that his baggage has baggage."
Gingrich is twice divorced. He left his first wife after her cancer treatment and he left his second wife for a staffer.
UPDATE: We heard from Newt Gingrich’s daughter, Jackie Gingrich Cushman. She says that Newt Gingrich and her mother (his first wife) were in the process of dissolving their marriage weeks before her mom went into the hospital to have a tumor removed. She says the tumor was benign; there was no cancer. Gingrich Cushman suggests that time and the media have created an inaccurate impression of what really happened.
Gingrich says he expects questions about his three marriages and infidelity. But he insists he's happily married and has reconciled all this with God.
Here’s my question to you: How much will Newt Gingrich's personal baggage affect his run for the White House?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Gerry in Arizona:
The importance of Newt Gingrich's baggage seems to be diminishing more and more with each debate. People are putting more value into his ability to find solutions to our problems than his previous marital problems. He may have flunked marriage, but he certainly seems to have a grasp of government.
I think all the grown-ups in the room understand that all candidates probably have some personal baggage; it's just that some baggage is currently public record. None of the Republican candidates are my personal favorite, but I would swim through shark-infested waters bleeding and half dead in order to cast one vote for any of them to replace Obama. Newt's past doesn't bother me at all compared to Obama's present.
Fran in Escondido, California:
Newt has more baggage than a 747. There is not one Democrat who would vote for him. And when Independents and moderate Republicans learn of his mean and crazy background they will not think of voting for him. He will not make it to that point. So I don't think we have to worry about him. He will join Trump, Bachmann, Palin, Perry, Cain and Santorum in the loony bin.
Benjamin on Facebook:
Hell will freeze over before Gingrich wins the nomination. Gingrich's baggage goes beyond cheating on wives; he's everything Washington.
I don't know of ANYONE who doesn't have a skeleton or two in the closet. Neither do I know of anyone who hasn't changed his mind over time. In short, I believe that Newt has worked through all the problems, and will be our best conservative presidential hopeful.
Jack, You would think that it would have considerable influence since he's Republican, the party of "family values". However, the Republicans are still searching for anyone who knows where Libya is located.