Gingrich Ends Campaign, Urges Party to Back Romney

By: Philip. Elliott, AP
By: Philip. Elliott, AP

Arlington, VA (AP) - Newt Gingrich, the colorful former House speaker and fiery partisan, formally exited the Republican presidential contest Wednesday and vowed to help Mitt Romney's bid to defeat President Barack Obama.

Ending a campaign that seesawed between implosion and frontrunner and back again, Gingrich threw his support to his one-time rival as expected and promised his supporters he would continue to push conservative ideas. Gingrich bowed out of the race more than $4 million in debt and his reputation perhaps damaged.

"Today, I am suspending the campaign. But suspending the campaign does not mean suspending citizenship," Gingrich told a ballroom in a suburban Washington hotel.

"We are now going to put down the role of candidate and candidate's spouse and take back the role of active citizens," he said, adding he would continue to promote conservative ideas on college campuses, as well as through newsletters and films.

He also urged conservatives to rally behind Romney as a better alternative than Obama.

"This is not a choice between Mitt Romney and Ronald Reagan. This is a choice between Mitt Romney and the most radical, leftist president in American history," Gingrich said.

Gingrich saw extremes during his campaign. His senior staff resigned en masse last summer when Gingrich seemed unwilling to undertake a traditional campaign schedule of person-to-person campaigning and fundraising. Instead, he leaned on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as a steady stream of broadcast interviews he seemed to relish.

It seemed to work for a while. Gingrich plodded along with a proudly nontraditional campaign and strong debate performances. The showings helped him win in South Carolina - one of only two states he would win - but were insufficient to stave off Romney's spending and organization in Florida. After Gingrich's stinging January loss there, the always high-spending campaign seemed to sputter along while amassing enormous debt.

The campaign ended February with $1.5 million in the red but continued spending as though donors were coming.

The campaign now owes more than $1 million to Moby Dick Airways, the air charter company he used to ferry himself and his wife around the country, mixing campaign rallies with stops at zoos and historical sites. The campaign also owes the Patriot Security Group almost $450,000 for security services.

A raft of advertising agencies, consulting firms, pollsters, attorneys and former aides litter the list of those he owes money. He owes his former campaign manager, Michael Krull, more than $27,000. Top spokesman R.C. Hammond, who joined Gingrich at his final campaign event, is owed almost $4,000.

The campaign also owes JC Watts Enterprises - run by the former Republican representative from Oklahoma - some $35,000 for outreach to religious conservatives. Watts, who served in the House with Gingrich, endorsed his bid and vouched for the thrice-married admitted adulterer among skeptical social conservatives.

Gingrich's campaign also owes members of the Gingrich family cash.

Gingrich himself is owed almost $272,000 and has already been reimbursed more than $514,000. His daughter is owed more than $6,000.

That's not to say the Gingriches didn't earn money along the way.

Gingrich Productions, which is run by wife Callista, was paid $67,000 last year. And Cushman Enterprises, run by his daughter Jackie Cushman, brought in more than $100,000 from the campaign.

As Gingrich was mulling an exit from the race, his aides were talking with Romney's campaign about how his one-time rival could help him retire the debt. Romney's team has offered to be helpful in that effort.

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  • by Ben Location: Havanna on May 5, 2012 at 02:04 PM
    Why isn't W helping Romney? Answer: George W's absence from the political stage at the height of pre-election mania is further evidence that his administration was a train wreck and that he holds the title of worst president in American history. No GOP candidate wants him anywhere near their camera shot or mentioned in campaign commercials. He is so toxic that not even the knuckle-headed, lame brain tea baggers want anything to do with him. Some legacy!!
  • by Tom Location: Tallahassee on May 5, 2012 at 12:30 PM
    If you have any doubts about Romney, consider that he said this in January: I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that's the America millions of Americans believe in. That's the America I love. Now that's what I call clear thinking by a savvy leader! No wonder the newt wants us to vote for the mitt - they think alike. By the way, has anyone seen George W? Shouldn't he be helping these guys out?
  • by Ship wreck on May 4, 2012 at 08:11 PM
    If Nancy Pelosi and Obama was on a ship in the middle of the ocean and it started to sink, who would be saved?

  • by Anonymous on May 3, 2012 at 06:46 AM
    Vote Goode!!
  • by USF 83 Location: City of Tallahassee on May 3, 2012 at 02:29 AM
    An analysis of primary results for the Republican Party indicates that support for the far-right policies of the party has diminished; this is brought out by the losses for Gingrich and Santorum as well as other far-right leaning candidates. However, this in itself could be subterfuge, an attempt to trick the populace, only to rematerialize if a republican gets elected. The republicans and their supply-side economic theories have led the US down a path of tremendous loss at home and loss of importance in the world. Beware, be prepared, Vote.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on May 3, 2012 at 06:46 AM in reply to USF 83
      LOL!! I want some of what you're smoking.
    • reply
      by Humongous on May 3, 2012 at 10:00 AM in reply to USF 83
      Put down the pipe...and walk away...just...walk...away.
    • reply
      by Gerry on May 3, 2012 at 02:26 PM in reply to USF 83
      they said Reagan would never get elected because he was too far right..... the current neo-republican party only has one conservative and the media buries him.....newt, romney, santorum, difference
  • by TallyVoter Location: Tallahassee on May 2, 2012 at 03:07 PM
    One slimy crook gone. Unfortunately we have to choose between the slimy crook we have now and a slimy crook still running.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on May 2, 2012 at 06:51 PM in reply to TallyVoter
      spot on
    • reply
      by Anonymous on May 3, 2012 at 09:54 AM in reply to TallyVoter
      The question remains... Which one is the least slimiest? I don't think that Obama has created any policy that has done anything to move the Country in the right direction. What we need now is a CHANGE, and any change from Obama's policies can't be any worse.
  • by Georgia Peach Location: N. FL on May 2, 2012 at 02:46 PM
    You fought a good fight. At least we know where you stand on the issues. I will write you in anyway
    • reply
      by Robert on May 3, 2012 at 06:48 AM in reply to Georgia Peach
      Please dont waste your vote.....obama has got to go or you will not ever be able to vote again...
      • reply
        by Bubba on May 3, 2012 at 11:11 AM in reply to Robert
        "Not ever be able to vote again." Are we supposed to treat this seriously? Where did you hear this, Beck? Levin? Rush?
    • reply
      by Moe on May 3, 2012 at 07:48 AM in reply to Georgia Peach
      And you'll accomplish what by doing that? Just vote for obama if that's what you want. No reason to hide behind a "write-in" vote of no importance.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on May 3, 2012 at 10:01 AM in reply to Georgia Peach
      Remember Bush 1. Clinton won because Perot split the party. Get behind the party, or don't even bother to vote. It is unrealistic to think that someone other than the democratic or republican nominee will win. If you really support Gingrich, then vote Romney, and hope that there will be a place for Gingrich in Romney's administration.
      • reply
        by Electoral College on May 3, 2012 at 01:31 PM in reply to
        The notion that Clinton won in '92 because Perot stole votes from Bush is nothing more than fantasy brought on by Republican apologists.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on May 3, 2012 at 07:06 PM in reply to Electoral College
          Don't make me get the facts and prove you wrong Mr. College
        • reply
          by Anonymous on May 4, 2012 at 05:43 AM in reply to Electoral College
          Clinton had less than 50 percent of the votes.....
  • by Redd Foxx on May 2, 2012 at 02:26 PM
    Send in the clowns.
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