Gingrich edging closer to decision on '12

Newt Gingrich continues to edge closer to launching a presidential run. But unlike other potential candidates who have sharpened the tone of their rhetoric as the campaign nears, Gingrich remains relatively cerebral in his assessment of the opposition. 

Earlier last week he said on Fox News Channel's "Hannity" that he will make a decision by early March. And on Sunday, he said on ABC's "This Week" that it could be sooner than that.

"I’ll probably make a decision by the end of this month about whether or not to set up an exploratory committee," the former House Speaker said.

Meanwhile, Gingrich continues to court the conservative base of the GOP with a more nuanced approach than his potential rivals'.

He addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday — where he invited President Obama to speak next year, albeit with some conditions — and then flew to Kansas on Friday, where he appeared at an event with former Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.).

The two men took questions at a banquet for the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce. Asked about the direction of the country since President Obama took office, Gingrich used a surprisingly light touch.

"I think the challenges we face are all dramatically bigger than President Obama, and almost all of them preceded him," said Gingrich.

Although he went on to criticize the president, Gingrich's response was still a tacit acknowledgement of the Democrats' longstanding claim that Obama has been digging the country out of a hole created by his predecessor.