(Reuters) - Newt Gingrich’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination hit big trouble on Thursday when key members of team quit.
Here are a few facts about Gingrich.
* Gingrich led the “Republican revolution” in 1994 congressional elections that brought his party to power in Congress with a series of pledges known as the “Contract with America.” He then served as House of Representatives speaker for nearly four tumultuous years that featured a partial government shutdown, compromise deals with Democrats on balancing the budget and welfare reform, and the launch of an impeachment drive against Bill Clinton over the Democratic president’s sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky who worked as a White House intern.
* Gingrich aroused controversy last month when he criticized congressional Republicans’ plans to overhaul the Medicare health program for seniors as “right-wing social engineering.” He apologized for his televised remarks after a storm of criticism from fellow conservatives.
* His personal life has been rocky. He has been through two messy divorces, a fact he admits might hurt his candidacy with religious conservatives. His first wife said he visited her in the hospital while she recovered from cancer surgery to discuss a divorce, and he has admitted to cheating on his first and second wives. He says he has asked God to pardon him. “I found that I felt compelled to seek God’s forgiveness. Not God’s understanding, but God’s forgiveness. I do believe in a forgiving God. And I think most people, deep down in their hearts hope there’s a forgiving God,” Gingrich said in March.
* Known as an ideas man, Gingrich has remained an influential Republican voice, including a stint as a paid analyst at Fox News. He is also author of more than a dozen books and a successful founder of a string of organizations and companies including American Solutions, a group that advances conservative causes. Fox suspended Gingrich in March from his paid analyst role because he was weighing a White House run.
* Gingrich considered a run for president in 2008, keeping the option open well into 2007 as the race for the Republican nomination became crowded with candidates. He eventually decided against it. Senator John McCain won the Republican nomination and lost to Democrat Barack Obama in the election.
Editing by Peter Cooney