"I don’t want to sound like Newt Gingrich — I don’t want to sound like I’m inflating my importance or relationship with him,” Biden said, referring to Erdogan, according to The Wall Street Journal. “But we have listened to each other. And he was genuinely listening to my perspective and wasn’t challenging it."

The jab is a significant one coming from an Obama administration that has been so far solely focused on attacking Mitt Romney, who has garnered stable support in the Republican primary but has been unable to create separation from the rest of the GOP field. Administration officials have publicly and privately bashed Romney as a flip-flopper concerned only with winning election, and the Democratic National Committee has launched a series of Web and television ads on the theme.

But in engaging Gingrich — even jokingly — Biden has signaled the increasing import that the former House Speaker has taken in the Republican race.

According to a Poll Position survey released Monday, taken after Herman Cain exited the race, Gingrich leads Romney by 37 percent to 23 percent. No other candidate had more than double-digit support in the national poll.