Omens: Newt Now Talking About His Campaign in the Past Tense

Posted: Apr 09, 2012 5:06 PM

Is Newt Gringrich waving the white flag?  A few recent developments indicate that he may be positioning himself to officially or unofficially concede the GOP nominating contest to Mitt Romney: (1) Yesterday, the frontrunner casually mentioned that he's been in fairly close contact with Gingrich over the last few weeks.  He described their interactions as "pretty open eyed" in terms of the delegate landscape. (2) The former Speaker has offered up an unprompted assurance that he'll support Romney if and when he becomes the nominee. (3) Newt is starting to talk about his own presidential run as if it's no longer active:

While not throwing in the towel just yet, the former House speaker spoke frequently in past tense about his presidential bid in an interview on "Fox News Sunday." He said he wants to continue to try and influence the party platform, but said he's already discussed with the Republican National Committee how he can best help the nominee defeat President Obama if it's not him. 

Romney, he said, "is far and away the most likely" nominee. Looking back on the race, Gingrich said he has "no regrets" -- he became visibly emotional as he discussed on Easter Sunday how his faith helped him through the campaign.  "I'm glad I did this," Gingrich said of his decision to run, calling it "the right thing for me to do." 

"We are absolutely committed to defeating Barack Obama," he said. "I will work as hard for (Romney) as I would for myself."  He said he's already spoken with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus about how he can help going into November. "Beyond that ... I'll go back to a post-political career," Gingrich said. 

This strikes me as the latest example of the inevitable coalescence around Romney, who is the prohibitive leader in the nominating process.  As Erika reported over the weekend, Team Romney is preparing to pour millions into Pennsylvania, in hopes of dealing Rick Santorum a crippling and demoralizing home state loss.  Recent polls show that race very close, with Romney leading in the other April 24 contests.  Ultimately, the party will rally around the nominee, who will be the only man standing between Barack Obama and another four years in the White House.  The president's polling is slightly up, as he holds a modest lead over Romney among "swing independents," even as his preemptive attacks on the Supreme Court over Obamacare seem to have landed with a loud thud.  The RNC is smacking Obama over his flagrant hypocrisy regarding negative campaigning -- which will likely feature prominently in his re-election effort, especially if last week's appalling speech is any indication:

"If you don't have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare voters."  Indeed, Mr. President.