Gingrich Signals Support for Romney; Joint Event Expected Soon
Kevin Bohn, CNN Senior Producer
WASHINGTON — Newt Gingrich will briefly mention presumptive nominee Mitt Romney and signal support for his candidacy when the former House speaker suspends his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination on Wednesday, Gingrich’s spokesman R.C. Hammond said.
Planning is under way for a joint Romney-Gingrich formal endorsement event to be held in a couple of weeks, Hammond said.
Gingrich, in his remarks Wednesday, will discuss Romney in the context of “how we need to help defeat Barack Obama and the need to help (House Speaker John) Boehner” maintain Republican control of the House of Representatives, Hammond said.
Hammond said given that Gingrich already has signaled his intention to suspend the campaign and support Romney, “It’s not any surprise. It’s no surprise where he will go.”
Gingrich will be spending most of the summer and fall on the campaign trail stumping for candidates, Hammond said.
Regarding the campaign’s debt, which was $4.3 million as of March 31, Hammond said about $500,000 has been retired. Gingrich is expected to address a plan for paying off the rest.
In a phone interview Tuesday night, Gingrich told USA Today he had no regrets about running for president, but, “I have regrets about not being smarter about how to run.” He said he wished he had been “bolder” by not relying on consultants and focusing on some of his proposals regarding energy and science. With “more discipline and more courage to be more outside the mainstream, it might have worked better.”
Gingrich’s campaign experienced a series of ups and downs, from a staff exodus to jumping to the top of the polls in Iowa and then being the target of a bombardment of attacks by Romney and the super PAC supporting him. His strong performances during many of the Republican primary debates helped build support as he tried to sell himself as the bold ideas candidate.
He then made a second comeback, winning the South Carolina primary in January, but could not sustain momentum as he took hits for his proposal for a space colony and questions about his viability led to him being sidelined.
Regarding the man he bitterly criticized during the campaign, Gingrich now offered praise. “Mitt Romney met the first criteria of being a good candidate: He won.” He added in the interview: “Now, you have to respect that.”
“We sure didn’t give it to him. We did everything we could to slug it out with him, and he ended up being tough enough and being good enough at raising money” to win the nomination, Gingrich said.
The Gingrich campaign has not made a decision about whether to release its 141 delegates.