The GOP's infighting looks awfully familiar to former President Bill Clinton.
“They’re basically doing to each other now…what they did to the Democrats in 2010,’’ Clinton told TODAY’s Ann Curry Tuesday.Video: Bill Clinton weighs in on North Korea, diplomacy (on this page)
Back in September, Clinton advised pundits not to count out former speaker Newt Gingrich as a strong potential candidate for the nomination. Whether Gingrich is fit to be president will be determined by the election process, Clinton said.
“You find out a lot about people in the crucible of battle, and they’re all turning on (Gingrich) now and running all these negative ads,’’ Clinton said. “The one with the greatest resilience, with the ability to come back from adversity will probably prevail.Video: Clinton: Gingrich can’t take credit for ‘90s surplus (on this page)
“That’s what these elections are for. They tell you a lot about people. When you’re just getting the living daylights pounded out of you and people count you out and you're down — I was pronounced dead more times than a cat has lives in '92. That’s when you find the 'something' people want in a president.’’
Gingrich has touted his help in balancing the federal budget during his time in Congress (and during Clinton's tenure).
The former speaker, Clinton said, may be exaggerating his role.Story: Holiday books: Mindy Kaling and Bill Clinton pick favorites
“He did work with me to pass some good budgets...We got our work done on time, and I had a decent working relationship with him, but the vast lion’s share of balancing the budget was done in the budget of 1993 that he led the opposition to,’’ Clinton said. “Ninety percent of the budget was balanced before the Balanced Budget Act (of 1997) was ever passed.
“If I were in his position, I would be saying that because it is true that we worked in a bipartisan fashion to pass five budgets, and they worked out pretty well for American people,’’ he said.
Clinton also addressed the current government's security concerns out of North Korea, the secretive nation whose leader, 69-year-old dictator Kim Jong Il, died on Saturday. His youngest son, Kim Jong Un, looks to be his successor.Story: Bill Clinton wants to get America ‘Back to Work’
President Obama and Clinton’s wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have been in contact with leaders in South Korea and Japan this week.
“I think we should be concerned, but I think the president did the right thing,’’ Clinton said. “They basically want to do nothing now so that there’s no provocation, and they have time to sort it out.”
In 2009, Bill Clinton traveled to North Korea to help ensure the release of two detained American journalists, but did not meet with Kim Jong Il’s son and successor at that time.
More TODAY News
“They’re grooming (Kim Jong Un),’’ Clinton said. “What you don’t want is for the military, which has overwhelming influence, to feel that they have to do something radical to reassert their control. I just think we ought to let them sort it out and then make the argument we’ve been making now for a long time, which is they ought to give up their nuclear power and selling military technology and let us work with them to grow food and create factories and create shared prosperity. I hope we can do that.’’
Though the conversation veered to politics and world peace, Clinton came on TODAY to talk about his favorite books of 2011. Number one on his list is "Jerusalem," by Simon Sebag Montefiore.Video: Bill Clinton, ‘Office’ star reveal must-reads
"It's great. It's truly a biography of the city and it comes alive," Clinton said. "You fall in love with the city, and it breaks your heart that people can't make peace over it."
© 2013 NBCNews.com Reprints