01/19/2012 06:42 pm ET Updated Jan 19, 2012

Jenny Sanford Weighs In On Marianne Gingrich Interview (VIDEO)

Former First Lady of South Carolina Jenny Sanford appeared on MSNBC Thursday to talk about the upcoming GOP primary, and Chris Matthews asked her whether Newt Gingrich's messy marital past should impact his presidential candidacy.

"I think anybody's behavior in their personal life does have to impact what they do in their professional life," she said. "Because I think it comes down to the simple question of character. I think character matters. It matters in your family, it matters in your business, it matters in everything you do each day of your life."

Sanford would know. In 2009 her ex-husband Mark was caught in an affair with an Argentinian mistress while he was governor and supposedly hiking the Appalachian trail. She later divorced him, but she told Matthews that under certain circumstances people can overcome personal failings.

"Does that mean that we can't overcome failings on the one side? Absolutely not," she said. "I think the American people are actually fairly forgiving. But there has to be some notion if there were failings on one side, there has to be some notion that there's a very, very strong stance on the other side for me to work on that."

Marianne Gingrich, Newt's second wife, just taped a revealing interview with ABC in which says her ex-husband requested an open marriage so that he could continue his affair with Callista, now his third wife. Sanford told Matthews that she thinks Marianne's revelations could hurt Newt's campaign.

"I think that actually seeing one of his wives speaking about him in an unflattering manner, it has got have an impact in some respect," she said. "It does call into question his character certainly on the personal side. And, you know, as a voter, I encourage people to look at both sides, the personal side. And if you're going to overcome somebody's moral failings or infidelities, you have to also look at where they stand ideologically and how much does their rhetoric match their reality. In my mind, Gingrich falls short on both fronts. So, he wouldn't get my vote."