Newt Gingrich says he's surged ahead of his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination because voters are looking beyond his checkered personal history for a candidate with a record of big accomplishments.
Gingrich says that as House speaker he balanced the federal budget and overhauled welfare _ which he says outweigh his confessions of marital infidelity and multiple marriages. Gingrich says he's open to people getting to know him and plans to run a positive, issue-oriented campaign in the 19 days before the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3.
Gingrich says that kind of campaign has real appeal at a time when many people think the country is in deep trouble.
Gingrich spoke Thursday during a taping of Iowa Public Television's "Iowa Press" program, airing over the weekend.