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Gingrich to end White House bid, spokesman says

By Mark Preston, CNN Political Director
updated 4:51 PM EDT, Wed April 25, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Gingrich says he will support Mitt Romney's bid to defeat President Obama
  • Gingrich will probably make the announcement Tuesday
  • He and Romney spoke by telephone Wednesday
  • Gingrich wants to help Republicans hold the House and win the Senate

Washington (CNN) -- Newt Gingrich will officially end his bid for the Republican presidential nomination next week, his spokesman said Wednesday, and will back Mitt Romney in his bid to defeat President Barack Obama in November.

In a phone call Wednesday between the candidates, Gingrich told Romney that he planned on suspending his campaign next week, Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond said.

Details are still being worked out, but Gingrich is likely to hold his final campaign event Tuesday in Washington, D.C., where he will make the announcement surrounded by his family and supporters, according to sources close to the Gingrich campaign.

The decision to hold the event next week was made for logistical reasons, the sources said, adding that Gingrich told Romney in the phone call that he will try to help elect Romney in November.

Romney called Gingrich to ask for his support, but did not pressure the former House speaker to leave the race, Hammond told CNN.

"Gov. Romney called this morning, and he was very gracious and said he would respect any decision that Newt was going to make," Hammond said. "If he chose to stay in the race, he would be respectful of that, but if Newt did choose to suspend, then Gov. Romney said I want you to be a member of our team and help us."

The two campaigns are expected to talk next week about how Gingrich can assist Romney's campaign.

It is not surprising that Gingrich is suspending his campaign for the White House, as he has all but acknowledged it was winding down and Romney would be the presumptive GOP nominee.

"I do think it's pretty clear that Gov. Romney is ultimately going to be the nominee, and we'll do everything that we can to make sure that he is, in fact, effective," Gingrich said Wednesday at a campaign stop in North Carolina before news broke about his decision to officially end his campaign.

Gingrich's focus will probably be much broader than the presidential campaign, as the politician who made his name and career in the House plans to be actively involved in helping the GOP control of both sides of Capitol Hill.

Hammond said that Gingrich is committed to helping Republicans maintain control of the House and try to win the majority in the Senate.

CNN's Tom Cohen contributed to this report.

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