Obama adviser Axelrod dubs Gingrich the 'godfather of gridlock'

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MSNBC host Chuck Todd then asked if that would be the "Obama case against Newt."

"Well, I think it may be the public's case against him," Axelrod said. "I don't think people want to go back to that."

The Obama campaign has been reluctant to engage with Republican challengers other than Mitt Romney thus far in the campaign. But Vice President Biden took a shot at Gingrich during a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday.

Biden and Erdogan were scheduled to meet for about 45 minutes, but the leaders ended up meeting for two hours despite the fact that Erdogan had recently undergone minor surgery and his doctors were advising him to cut the meeting short.

 

Biden credited their close relationship and substantive discussion for prolonging the meeting, then got in the swipe at Gingrich.

"I don’t want to sound like Newt Gingrich — I don’t want to sound like I’m inflating my importance or relationship with [Erdogan],” Biden said, 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." 

By engaging Gingrich, the Obama team is acknowledging Gingrich's rise in GOP presidential polls.

According to a Poll Position survey released Monday, taken after Herman Cain exited the race, Gingrich leads Romney 37 percent to 23 percent.