Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is enjoying a new round of perennial presidential candidacy buzz – he came in a surprisingly strong third in a recent 2012 preference poll among Iowa Republicans - but his personal life continues to dog him.
Conservative Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma bluntly stated his concern about the twice-divorced, thrice-married Gingrich during a Friday town hall.
"He's the last person I'd vote for for president of the United States,” Coburn said, per the Tulsa World. “His life indicates he does not have a commitment to the character traits necessary to be a great president."
Coburn said that Gingrich’s personal history indicates that he “doesn't know anything about commitment to marriage.”
A recent profile in Esquire magazine explored that history, including details of the affairs that ended his first two marriages. The writer interviewed Gingrich’s second wife, Marianne, who painted a frank picture of her ex-husband's moral inconsistencies.
"He believes that what he says in public and how he lives don't have to be connected," she said in the interview. "If you believe that, then yeah, you can run for president."
*** UPDATE *** Msnbc.com's Tom Curry points out that Coburn has long been critical of the former House Speaker.
In his 2003 book, Breach of Trust, Coburn portrayed Gingrich as lacking in courage and in good judgment.
Coburn said Gingrich was outwitted by President Bill Clinton in the 1995 battle over the budget which led to temporary shutdown of the government. “Our leaders folded instead of standing their ground,” Coburn wrote. “History shows that the shutdown fight was a fight we could have won.”