Newt Gingrich was in his 20s when he was hired at West Georgia College as a history professor. He had just returned from Belgium, where he was doing research for his doctoral dissertation.
"He was very much a person of intellect," says Mel Steeley, who taught history at the college for four decades and helped bring Gingrich to the school in 1970. "He would wander across campus and didn't notice people. He'd have something in his mind, always be thinking about something. When he first came, you kind of wondered if he was a student or a professor."
Presidential candidate Rick Santorum consistently polls near the bottom of the Republican pack. But he appears undeterred in his bid for the White House. Santorum's work life in his 20s provides some insight into why he perseveres despite long odds.
The former senator from Pennsylvania is best known for his conservative social positions, especially his opposition to abortion rights and gay marriage. He's also known for expressing what he thinks very frankly.
In the crowded race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney may be the tortoise, but Newt Gingrich is the newt. And newts are highly adaptive salamanders that regenerate limbs when wounded and emit poison when challenged.
Conventional — and up-to-the-minute contemporary — wisdom pegs Gingrich as the ascendant favorite, knocking other candidates off their posts and platforms like an Angry Bird.
The top man in charge of President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election bid says the campaign is taking a page out of the 2008 election playbook by focusing on mobilizing grassroots support in swing-states like Colorado.