Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said the Democratic Party would benefit from Newt Gingrich winning the GOP 2012 presidential nomination.

"He would be the best thing to happen to Democrats since Barry Goldwater," Frank said at a press conference on Monday.


Gingrich has recently jumped to the head of the Republican presidential field. A Majority Opinion Research poll released Monday found that the former House Speaker leads the other Republican hopefuls, with 32 percent of Republican voters. The poll found Mitt Romney in second place, with 23 percent of Republicans' support. 

"If Newt Gingrich is the nominee then ... wow," Frank said.

Frank, who is openly gay and in a domestic partnership, also said Gingrich would be an ideal debate opponent for discussing the Defense of Marriage Act.

"I look forward to debating the Defense of Marriage Act with Mr. Gingrich," Frank also said. 

The Gingrich campaign had no comment on Frank's remarks.

Earlier this year President Obama announced that his administration would stop defending the law, which bars same-sex marriage. Gingrich said House Republicans should demand Obama fulfill his "constitutional obligations" and defend the law.

On Monday, Frank announced that he would not seek reelection in 2012. Frank made the comments at the press conference where he formally made his announcement. 

-- Josh Lederman contributed.

— This story was last updated at 1:47 p.m.