Why exactly is Newt waiting a week to drop out?

The conventional wisdom is that Gingrich is taking some kind of strange victory lap, gathering family and supporters in North Carolina for a final hurrah before exiting stage right.

But Gingrich is also looking to position himself as an influential figure at this summer’s Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., repair some of the relationships he has strained through the bruising GOP primary process and work to settle the massive debt his campaign has accrued in recent months.

There’s another reason Gingrich might be opting to stretch out his farewell — his final week of campaign events includes a lot of fun. Stops include a baseball game where Gingrich will throw out the first pitch, a visit to the base of a NASCAR racing team and a tour of a North Carolina zoo. For Gingrich, it might just be the last chance to enjoy the trappings of the campaign trail…

“His real path forward is as a spokesman for the Romney and the GOP pressing Obama on energy prices,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “It really depends how he conducts himself, but if he’s the only one really good at synthesizing 15-second sound bites to describe America’s energy woes, that could make him valuable for the GOP going into November.”