Though he all but endorsed Mitt Romney and will be campaigning with him, Newt Gingrich tried to quell concerns that he isn't supportive enough of his former opponent on Sunday.
“You have to have some respect for a guy who spent six years of his life, put together a serious national campaign, made the case,” he said on CNN’s State of the Union, adding that though he beat Romney in a number of debates, “when it got to the crunch, and […] he had to do it or die, he did it.”
Gingrich said that Romney had “many strong things” to support his candidacy – including, simply, the fact that he won.
“This is not some magic show. You're either gonna get Barack Obama or you’re gonna get Mitt Romney. Now I don’t see how any conservative, given that choice, could end up favoring Barack Obama,” he said.
Gingrich dropped out of the race last week, committing to help him win the nomination. He said that he will, “be available at their convenience to do anything they want me to do,” although he dismissed the idea that he’d be Romney’s vice-presidential running mate.
Gingrich has often said that a protracted primary was good for the party, as rationale for continuing his campaign despite long odds. He echoed that view on Sunday, affirming that Romney had “earned” the nomination by fighting hard for it in the primary.
“I believe that he has earned the right to represent the Republican Party, and he's earned it the hard way," Gingrich said. "He has fought his way to the nomination. Nobody gave him an inch.”