NPR has been profiling some of the Republicans who are considering a presidential run in 2012, to find out what first sparked their interest in politics. Read more of those profiles.
When you ask many politicians what inspired them to a life of public service, you often hear familiar words about a commitment to helping people, or perhaps a desire to run government more like a business.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich can't avoid the reality that his personal past is a problem in Republican primaries and caucuses where social conservative activists, including born-again Christians, will play a large role in choosing who eventually becomes the Republican nominee.
So his challenge is to arrive at a formulation that explains some of that controversial behavior, including the extramarital affair that led to his third and current marriage.