CHICAGO (CBS) — U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin suggested Monday that President Barack Obama would do well were Republican candidate Newt Gingrich to continue his strong South Carolina showing and end up with the GOP nomination.

As WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports, Durbin rejected any notion that Gingrich’s oratorical skills could spell trouble for Obama, should Gingrich end up as the Republican challenger to Obama’s re-election bid.

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LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports

“Let me tell you something. I’ve known Newt Gingrich for 30 years. I would love to debate Newt Gingrich. He has a record and it’s a record that may not stand up as well outside of a Republican primary,” Durbin said.

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Durbin says he’s sorry politics reaches the personal level, but says Gingrich does have questions to answer about his personal and family life, such as an allegation by his ex-wife Marianne Gingrich that he once asked her for an open marriage while he was having an affair.

“I think he has a lot of questions that he needs to answer and some of them are of a personal and family nature,” Durbin said. “I’m sorry when politics reaches that level, but it has – in the Republican primary – been, in almost every state, that’s been a major issue.”

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Gingrich won handily in the South Carolina primary over the weekend, taking 40 percent of the vote to Mitt Romney’s 28 percent. Romney won the New Hampshire primary and, although he was initially declared the winner of the Iowa caucuses by a handful of votes, officials later said Rick Santorum won Iowa by a slim margin.