US President Barack Obama's campaign signaled on Tuesday it would attack the new Republican presidential front-runner Newt Gingrich just as hard as Mitt Romney, the longtime leader in the race, and forecast -- to its delight -- a long battle between the two men for their party's nomination.
Obama's campaign advisers have spent months criticizing Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, in an effort to wound him ahead of November's general election, when they expected him to face off against Obama, a Democrat.
But with Gingrich's surge in polls, the Obama campaign has recalibrated, directing attacks at both men.
"Newt is back," said David Axelrod, Obama's chief campaign strategist, during a briefing with reporters in Washington. "The question is can he sustain this."
Gingrich, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, ended his 20-year congressional career after Republican losses in the 1998 elections.