ABC News’ Ed O’Keefe Reports: Newt Gingrich predicts Barack Obama will win the hotly contested vote in Iowa, saying the junior Senator from Illinois will motivate more energized supported than the former First Lady.
"My guess is Senator Obama’s going to win Iowa and that he’s going to win it by a surprising margin," the former Speaker of the House told ABC News’ Diane Sawyer on "Good Morning America".
Obama, D-Ill., and Senator Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., will soon roll out the "charisma brigade", dispatching mega-surrogates Bill Clinton, campaigning for his wife, and Oprah Winfrey, making a first and rare foray into the political arena on behalf of Obama, whom the talk superstar has endorsed.
"I think Oprah Winfrey is a remarkable figure," Gingrich told Sawyer, "I think she brings a, not just a celebrity status, but there are millions of people who trust her judgment."
Pressed on whether the Oprah-factor would "tip" the nomination toward Obama, Gingrich replied, "I think it’s a significant asset to (Obama) and he’s not married to her."
"I think there’s a double-edged sword when President Clinton shows up because he also reminds you, do you really want two presidents in the White House? And do you really want Mrs. Clinton to have to rely on President Clinton to have to win?"
In the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, shows a tight race in the Hawkeye State with Obama at 30 percent over Clinton at 26 percent, and both former Senator John Edwards, D-N.C., and Governor Bill Richardson, D-N.M., trailing with 22 and 11 percent respectively.
Perhaps more significantly, ABC News’ Polling Director Gary Langer points out that the poll also showed "most Democratic likely voters in Iowa, 55 percent, say they’re more interested in a "new direction and new ideas" than in strength and experience…a help to Obama, who holds a substantial lead among "new direction" voters."
"I have a hunch," Gingrich told Sawyer on "GMA", "that the emotional energy that Senator Obama’s building is more powerful than the emotional energy Senator Clinton’s building."
The former House Speaker said he has "great respect" for Senator Clinton and the Clinton "machine" but went on to add, "It just seems to me right now, in Iowa at least, Senator Obama’s building a really heavy steam."