Newt Gingrich to suspend campaign

at 01:00 PM ET, 04/25/2012

Newt Gingrich is expected to suspend his presidential campaign within the next week and endorse former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, a spokesman said.

Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond said that Romney called the former House speaker this morning to say he would welcome his endorsement, should Gingrich choose to end his campaign.

The two campaigns are “working out the details” of the endorsement, Hammond said.

“Over the next few days we're going to look realistically at where we're at,” Gingrich said in a speech in Concord Tuesday night. He said he would assess the race “as somebody who's a unifier and somebody who's realistic.”

The candidate had already been signaling that the end was near, telling supporters in North Carolina that he would reassess his candidacy while continuing his tour of the state.

On Wednesday, Gingrich told a Charlotte civic club that “it’s pretty clear” that Romney will be the Republican nominee, but that he would continue to campaign as a “citizen” in the state.

“He truly believes he would be the best candidate for the party but recognizes the objective reality that recent primary voters have not agreed and intends to be loyal to the party,” said one Gingrich adviser. “He is being responsible, thinking this through, and communicating with the proper people before rushing to a microphone.”

Gingrich had previously suggested that he might take his fight against Romneyall the way to the convention in Tampa, as a conservative voice if not a viable candidate.

But Romney swept five states last night — including Delaware, where Gingrich campaigned heavily — making it difficult for the former speaker to justify his continued candidacy. He had not won a primary since his old home state of Georgia voted on March 6, and in the past month he placed second only in Louisiana. His campaign holds $4.3 million in debt.

“His ultimate problem has always been wearing the mantle of the smartest guy in the room ... which of course means he has to do things differently to show he is the smartest,” said a former Gingrich insider, “His inability to demonstrate character, discipline and gravitas coupled with ‘shortcuts’ doomed this over a year ago.”

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