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Thanks to Obama’s performance, Mr. Gingrich said he expected that whoever wins the Republican nomination would win the White House.

“He is a disaster,” Mr. Gingrich said of Mr. Obama. “His principles are fundamentally wrong. The people he appoints are more radical than he is and less competent.”

Despite his fiery personality, Mr. Gingrich said he wasn’t worried that his comments would turn off moderate voters. At a time when the economy remains fragile, Americans want results and aren’t worried about personality, he said.

“I think likable is a word you have to think about a lot,” Mr. Gingrich said. “If people believe their country is in trouble, they want a captain of the lifeboat, they don’t want a fraternity brother.”