- (Photo: REUTERS/Tami Chappell)
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said while he was not quitting the nomination race yet, if front-runner Mitt Romney became the nominee he would support him to defeat President Barack Obama.
Gingrich said Romney was most likely to get the 1,144 delegates required to clinch the nomination. "I think you have to be realistic," the former House Speaker said on "Fox News Sunday." "Given the size of his organization, given the number of primaries he's won, he is far and away the most likely Republican nominee."
And if the former Massachusetts governor becomes the nominee, "I'll support him. I'll do everything I can this fall to help him defeat Obama," Gingrich added. "We are absolutely committed to defeating Barack Obama. I will work as hard for (Romney) as I would for myself." He also said he had spoken to the Republican National Committee about helping the nominee, whoever it is.
Gingrich admitted that he and Romney had attacked each other in the past. "I hit him as hard as I could, he hit me as hard as he could – turned out he had more things to hit with than I did. That's part of the business."
While Gingrich hinted that his campaign could come to an end soon, he said he had no regrets about standing for president. "I'm glad I did this," he said. "For me, it was important as a citizen to try to do some very hard things, to try to bring ideas and new approaches… It turned out to be much harder than I thought it would, but it was the right thing for me to do at that point, both in my life and for where I thought the country was."
About his future, Gingrich said he would like to influence the party platform. "I think platforms matter in the long run in the evolution of the party. And the party is more than just a presidential candidate – it's Senate candidates, House candidates, state legislators."
Gingrich was also candid about the funds crunch in his campaign. He said the campaign was about $4.5 million in debt and had to use some of his personal funds, "a little bit, but not dramatically." However, he added, "We owe much more than we wanted to."
Gingrich hinted that Romney's main opponent Rick Santorum might find it difficult to win the crucial primary in Pennsylvania, where he was raised and the state he represented in the Senate for 12 years. "It's clear that Governor Romney has done a very good [job] of building a very substantial machine. And I think Santorum is discovering in Pennsylvania right now – it's a challenge," Gingrich said.