Tea Party-backed Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) predicted in a recent interview that President Obama would lose in a "brutal bloodbath" to any GOP presidential candidate.
Despite his confidence in the electoral strength of the Republican presidential hopefuls, West singled out Newt Gingrich, telling Newsmax that the former House speaker is "the smartest person out there."
(Video of Newsmax's exclusive interview with West above)
West went on to suggest that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, whom he called "center to center left" earlier this month, had work to do to prove himself as a "true conservative." Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum's second-place finish in Iowa was overblown, West continued, and he said Texas Gov. Perry was still irreparably damaged by his gaffes and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) simply couldn't win with his foreign policy platform.
The most important thing, West said, was for Obama's opponent to "understand it's going to be a brutal bloodbath because this is such an important election cycle."
West also took direct aim at Obama for his recent move to recess appoint some nominees that had been held up for months amid opposition from Senate Republicans.
"He has a complete contempt for the legislative branch," West said. "We don't have an imperial presidency, but I think that is what he's starting to believe."
West has never shied away from criticizing the president. Last year he claimed Obama was a "low-level socialist agitator" who portrayed "third world dictator-like arrogance." And earlier this week, West weighed in on security issues, appearing to suggest that he believed military commanders should consider ignoring Obama's orders when it came to his administration's new Pentagon strategy.