Why Obama should worry about Newt

He fires up the base. For now. It may be the anybody-but-Mitt glow, but the GOP base, which turned on Gingrich a decade ago, has now made him their champion.

Axelrod sees a “Martini Party” vs. “Tea Party” split in the GOP, but Gingrich seems comfortable sipping both beverages.

At the moment, he enjoys a 15-to-20 point lead over Romney among self-described conservatives. If the general election is as tight as expected that could make a big difference, especially in the south — especially North Carolina, Virginia and his some-time home state of Georgia, which Obama has had hopes of winning.

Things could all change with greater scrutiny, but one Democratic strategist says Gingrich’s ability to embrace the GOP’s moneyed class while still retaining his damn-D.C. rebel rhetoric is what makes him most dangerous…

“Newt is kind of his own ideology,” says veteran GOP consultant Rob Collins, former chief of staff to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). “He’s been almost indefinable over a 30-year-career. He’s been able to define himself issue-by-issue because he’s so persuasive… He’s re-invented himself three times. He should terrorize the Obama campaign.”