- (Phtoto: Reuters/Chris Keane)
Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich will officially end his campaign Wednesday at a press conference in Virginia. An endorsement of Mitt Romney is expected in a joint appearance in two weeks. The Barack Obama campaign used the occasion to remind voters of some of the attacks Gingrich made against Romney during the campaign.
In a video on his campaign website posted Tuesday, Gingrich informed his supporters of the pending announcement and thanked them for their support.
"I wanted you to know first, because, your help was vital. We had nearly 180,000 people who donated to the campaign. We had thousands more who worked as volunteers. We had two and a half million voters. ... A reelection of Barack Obama would be a genuine disaster, and all of us have an obligation, I think, to do everything we can to defeat Barack Obama," Gingrich said.
Gingrich had already announced last Wednesday that he would make an official announcement soon. The campaign is reportedly over $4 million in debt, according to a March Federal Election Commission filing. In a Monday meeting with the Romney campaign, Gingrich agreed to help Romney as a spokesperson and fundraiser, and the Romney camp agreed to help Gingrich pay off his campaign debt by providing a list of donors that Gingrich could ask for help, Fox News reported.
"The Romney campaign will give us access to some of their networks but it will be our responsibility to raise the money," Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond told Fox News. "While campaigning in support of Romney, the party, and congressional candidates, we will also hold separate events to raise money to pay off debts."
The Gingrich campaign is also still asking supporters for help. The campaign's website has a message that reads, "Thank You: But we still need your support," followed by a "donate" button.
The Obama campaign put out a Web ad Wednesday, called "Newt Gingrich: Frankly, not Mitt Romney's biggest supporter," with a compilation of many of the negative things Gingrich said about Romney during the campaign. It included Gingrich criticizing Romney for his work as head of Bain Capital, accusing him of being anti-immigrant, and suggesting Romney is out of touch with most Americans because he has an offshore bank account.
The ad ends with a reporter asking Gingrich if he is saying that Romney is a liar and Gingrich's one word answer – "yes."
Gingrich's campaign displayed a pattern of highs and lows. The campaign seemed finished almost as soon as it began. After he entered the race, it was revealed that he owed about a million dollars to the Tiffany's jewelry store, criticized the "Ryan Plan" as "right-wing social engineering," and went on a Mediterranean cruise with his wife. Most of his top campaign staff quit at that point.
Gingrich resurrected his campaign, though, after Gov. Rick Perry proved himself a poor debater and Herman Cain dropped out following allegations of sexual misconduct. In early January, he was leading the race in most polls. That was followed, however, by a barrage of attack ads, mostly from the Ron Paul campaign and Romney-supporting super PAC. Gingrich quickly dropped in the polls and had disappointing finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Gingrich's second resurrection came in South Carolina late January. Gingrich won the South Carolina primary after two strong debate performances in which he criticized the press for bringing up old allegations of marital infidelity.
After South Carolina, many of his media interviews were spent complaining about Romney's attacks against him, rather than a positive message about his campaign, and he had a weak performance in the Florida debate. For an underfunded campaign, Gingrich was able to use the debates to gain traction in the race. But after the Florida primary, there were fewer debates and the campaign never fully recovered.
In a Tuesday interview with USA Today, Gingrich said he does not expect that he will run again.
"I'm already 68 years old. I believe Mitt Romney will become president. I believe he will do well enough to be re-elected, and I do not think in 2020 I'll be a plausible candidate," Gingrich said.