Gingrich: Romney needs to 'disarm' Obama in debate

"It has to be a campaign of contrast, not a campaign of attack, but part of the contrast has to be disarming the president because … if the president is believable at the end of the first debate, there's a very high likelihood he's going to get reelected," said Gingrich on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Gingrich, who was an opponent of Romney's during the GOP primaries, recommended that the GOP nominee be "aggressive" during the match-up against Obama.

"The one time when he [Romney] was aggressive, he leaned forward, he made his case was in Florida. That better be the Romney that goes to the debate with Barack Obama," he added.

The former Speaker also said Romney should "come back again and again and say, 'Mr. President why don't you tell the country the truth? Why don't you tell the country the truth about Benghazi? Why don't you tell the country the truth about what your EPA is doing to close down oil and gas? Why don't you tell the country the truth about why we're now paying $3.99 a gallon.' 

"The trick with Obama is Obama is a fabulous facade and I give him a lot of credit. He and his team may get reelected with the worst record in modern times."

Gingrich said an attack against Obama "sets the stage" for Romney to present his ideas on energy independence, job creation and foreign policy.

When asked what advice he had for Obama in the debates, Gingrich said, "call Bill Clinton every morning" to laughter from the panel.

Earlier in the interview, Gingrich praised former President Clinton's political skills and his speech at the Democratic National Convention.

"I think that the Romney challenge in the debate is to reset the campaign from the Bill Clinton narrative. It's not the Obama narrative, it's the Clinton, because the Clinton speech gave a frame of reference that explained Obama and discredited Romney and there's no one on the Republican side with the same capacity to be believable," Gingrich said.

The first general election debate takes place Wednesday, Oct. 3, in Denver.