More and more Democrats are deserting Barack Obama, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told Fox News' Greta Van Susteren Friday evening, creating a massive enthusiasm gap in favor of Republicans just two months before the November mid-terms.
Gingrich, a potential presidential candidate in 2012, pointed out that 11 percent of Democrats in a poll in Ohio this week said they'd prefer George W. Bush as president.
"That kind of beginning to see their own party fall apart, on top of the independents deserting them while they've solidify the Republicans, I think means that this November will probably be very difficult for the Democrats," Gingrich said, according to a transcript of the show.
Gingrich blamed Obama's lack of common touch for some of the party's problems. Some commentators - including the Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan - have suggested that many voters are having trouble relating to the president's unique life experience, creating fertile ground for beliefs that he's a Muslim, a Socialist or even a non-citizen.
Obama hasn't helped matters in recent weeks by weighing in inartfully on the New York mosque controversy, Gingrich added: "He sounded a little bit like John Kerry. People look at that and they go, as president, if you are going take a bold, courageous position think it through and don't flinch."
Gingrich then segwayed into the president's response to the BP oil spill, drawing comparisons with Republicans' reaction to the Exxon-Valdez 20 years ago.
"For the first two weeks of the BP oil disaster, the White House kept saying this is BP's problem. It turned out that in 1991, after the Exxon-Valdez, and I was the Republican whip at the time, we passed a law that said all these problems are the Coast Guard's problem, and the president as commander in chief has a direct responsible," Gingrich said. "And after about two weeks of saying this is BP's problem, the White House began saying we are deeply engaged. People could see the difference in those two responses."
Asked by Van Susteren "why won't you admit you are running?," Gingrich said candidates take a long time to declare themselves in part because of federal laws and regulations.
"There are very profound reasons under the Federal Election Commission rules to not become a candidate," he said. "There's all sorts of immediate consequences. And so you are going to find a lot of people who are looking at running none of whom who are going to make a decision to run for a long time."
Gingrich said he'd likely spend a good deal of time talking to his family over the winter holidays before making a decision.
"I think we may be at the most challenging time since the 1850s," he said. "We have very deep, very (real) challenges...This has to be a "we" project. It can't be look what I will do for America. No one person can solve our problems. It's got to be a "we" project. If you think that's your destiny then you ought to do it and see what happens."