Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich says his recent polling successes are the result of the strength of his performance in debates and the waning of other favorites "auditioning" for the limelight.
"Week after week in the debates, because I've focused so much on substance and on positive solutions, I think we've been steadily gaining ground," Gingrich said on Tuesday on Fox News. "The last week, it seems to have increased dramatically."
A CNN/ORC International poll released on Monday found 22 percent of Republicans and independents who lean toward the GOP say Gingrich is their most likely choice for their party's presidential nominee -- close behind front-runner Mitt Romney at 24 percent.
When asked if the surge in popularity came because of rival Herman Cain's sexual harassment allegation travails, Gingrich responded: "I think you've had a series of people, starting with Tim Pawlenty and then Michele Bachmann, and then Rick Perry, and then Herman Cain ... who have sort of auditioned for being the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney," he said. "Mitt Romney's been very stable and very steady. Now we're in a situation where to some extent people are looking at Newt Gingrich and having to decide, do they like the solutions I'm offering?"
Gingrich was asked by the Fox host about flyers being passed around detailing his two failed marriages, and how he intends to respond now that he's risen in the polls.
"I've done this very consistently now for six of seven months. It's a matter of public record. I'm very open about the fact that I've had moments in my life that I regret," Gingrich said. "I've indicated that I've had to go to God and ask for forgiveness and to seek reconciliation. I have a very close marriage with Callista, we do many, many things together."
Callista Gingrich is the former House speaker's third wife, with whom he had an affair while still married to his second wife.
"All this stuff will come up ... but I think people will also look at the totality of my life, and then they've got to make a decision themselves," Gingrich said. "I'm very comfortable relying on the American people to have a sense of decency and to have a sense of understanding of human beings."
DON'T MISS TODAY'S TOP STORIES