(CNN) - Newt Gingrich, a former Republican House speaker who knows something of negotiating with a Democratic president over budget issues, laid out his "fiscal cliff" advice to Republicans Tuesday on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight:” if necessary, go over the cliff without a deal.
"I am frankly not at all encouraged by what I see and a little bit worried by it," he said, assessing the negotiations - apparently now in impasse - in Washington to avert the tax increases and spending cuts which lay ahead in the new year.
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"Let me lay my cards on the table," he continued. "I think that no deal is better than a bad deal. I think going off this cliff is less dangerous than letting things build up for a year or two years to have an even bigger cliff."
Insiders foresee progress towards a deal this week as unlikely after President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner each rejected each other's opening proposal in recent days and even back-channel negotiations drew to a halt. Each has accused the other of advancing a less than serious proposal, and Gingrich described Obama's position as one of "non-seriousness."
When Gingrich led House Republicans in the 1990s, he negotiated with President Bill Clinton over budgetary issues.
"We earned President Clinton’s respect in part by closing the government twice and being a very rough and tumble fight," he said. "He came to believe we were serious. ...
"We were the first reelected Republican House since 1928," he continued. "That happened, I think, because we showed we actually were serious people willing to take the heat, willing do what it took, and willing to work our way to get real solutions."
Between Obama and Boehner, Gingrich said he does not "sense any mutual respect right now" and rather sees "political games."