Washington (CNN) - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich gave a grim assessment on the war on terror last night during a debate with former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, and suggested the situation unfolding in Egypt could pose a threat to the United States.
"Any honest assessment on 9/11 this year, ten years after the attack, I think will have to conclude that we're slowly losing the war," Gingrich said. "We're losing the war because there are madrassahs around the planet teaching hatred. We're losing the war because the network of terrorists is bigger, not smaller."
Gingrich pointed to the unrest in Egypt as posing a potential new threat to American security.
"There's a real possibility in a few weeks, if we're unfortunate, that Egypt will join Iran, and join Lebanon, and join Gaza, and join the things that are happening that are extraordinarily dangerous to us," Gingrich said.
Gingrich, who stopped short of announcing a bid for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, debated Dean on issues ranging from immigration to the economy.
And when an audience member pressed Gingrich about his stance on gay marriage, the former speaker defended his position.
"I'm quite happy to say that I come out of a tradition that is several thousand years old that says marriage is between a man and a woman," Gingrich said. "And I'm ready to defend that tradition and I happen to believe it. And I think I have as much right to my belief and you have to yours."