Rep. Frank breaks from retirement talk to jab GOP candidates

During the four decades Frank has served in the House, his media appearances have become notorious for featuring his acerbic wit and capricious attacks on his Republican detractors — including Newt Gingrich, with whom he frequently sparred during Gingrich's rein as Speaker of the House.

Gingrich's campaign told The Hill on Monday that the former Speaker had no comment about Frank's retirement.

Frank also listed off the reasons he found it shocking that voters were taking Gingrich's candidacy seriously: marital difficulties, ethics fines and allegations he lobbied for government-backed mortgage company Freddie Mac. But he described a GOP ticket with Gingrich's name on top as a serendipitous blessing for Democrats and Obama.

"I guess I channeled my grandmother, but from Joe McQuaid's lips to God's ears," Frank said, referring to the publisher of the New Hampshire Union Leader, which endorsed Gingrich on Sunday.

But Frank said Gingrich's chances were being aided by public disdain for the GOP front-runner whose previous job as a public servant was presiding over Frank's home state of Massachusetts.

"The distaste for Mitt Romney is so strong that it outweighs some of Gingrich's problems," he said.