Newt Gingrich called for President Obama to be the keynote speaker at next year's gathering of conservative activists, "if he earns it."
Gingrich was greeted with a standing ovation as he made his way into the ballroom at the Washington Wardman Park Marriott for a midday speech to the Conservative Political Activist Conference (CPAC) on Thursday.
The former House Speaker's lengthy address contained detailed policy proposals such as reforming the Environmental Protection Agency, and included several verbal shots at the media and the president.
"The Obama administration is wrong on terrorism, wrong on Iran, wrong on the Muslim Brotherhood, wrong on Hezbollah; and being wrong on that many national security items is an enormously dangerous thing," said Gingrich.
He said the president's approval rating "remains relatively high because the media loves him," and cited the recent Time magazine cover where Obama was featured with President Ronald Reagan.
"I want the elite media to know something," he said, launching into a paraphrase of the late Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas). "I knew Ronald Reagan." Gingrich paused to soak up some applause. "I began working with Ronald Reagan in 1974 when I first ran for Congress. And I hate to tell this to our friends at MSNBC and elsewhere: Barack Obama is no Ronald Reagan."
Again citing Reagan, Gingrich called on the organizers of CPAC to do something "bold."
"I want us to offer President Obama the opportunity to be the keynote speaker at CPAC in 2012, if he earns it," he said.
Obama could earn the invitation by signing several Republican proposals such as "the repeal of Obamacare" into law, Gingrich said.
"I don't actually personally believe he'll make it here next year, but still ... We're all having a good time why shouldn't he get to come and have a good time?"
He warned "liberals" that next year's elections could bring more Republican victories.
Pointing out there were 2,000 more registrants at the 2011 CPAC than last year, Gingrich said, "2010 was the appetizer, 2012 is the entree."
Gingrich left the stage and walked into a hallway where he and his wife, Callista, were greeted by a throng of reporters and television cameras. He didn't take questions and didn't talk about his 2012 plans. He is said to be considering a presidential bid.
-- This post was updated at 2:08 p.m.