newt gingrich*Republican candidate Newt Gingrich might be in the midst of one of the most unexpected political comebacks in U.S. history.

As a Representative from Georgia in the early 1990s, Gingrich was the architect of the Republican strategy which brought the party to legislative power in the 1994 midterm elections. He was verbose and highly intelligent, an accomplished author and former history teacher – the face of the Republican party for most of the 1990s.

It’s fitting, then, that Gingrich remains inexorably linked to his legislative opponent Bill Clinton since both had the same flaw: a messy personal life. Gingrich has been married three times, the first two of which ended when he had affairs with other women; he allegedly broke things off with his first wife by serving her divorce papers whilst she was on her sickbed recovering from cancer. It’s a history just as checkered as former President Clinton’s was – just without the litigation – and it’s one that barred Gingrich from going any further than the Speaker position.

Now, improbably, he’s in the race for president, after a decade of publishing, commentary and policy work, staying on the fringes but never out of the public mind. He’s pulled to the front of the Republican race almost by default, due to Herman Cain’s embarrassing meltdown and the relative indifference of the base for Mitt Romney’s candidacy. On the surface, it would seem like Gingrich’s skeletons are enough to bring him down – but, then again, we’ve counted him out before. He shouldn’t be underestimated as the Republican presidential race heats up.