Gingrich: I'll support Mitt Romney if he becomes the nominee

Well, I should think so. After such a long campaign to beat him, then stop him, then force him to “earn” the nomination, though, I guess it wasn’t always guaranteed that Newt Gingrich would support Mitt Romney if he becomes the nominee. It’s now confirmed, though. Gingrich said it himself on Fox News Sunday:

“I think you have to be realistic, given the size of his organization, given the number of primaries he’s won, he is far and away the most likely Republican nominee,” Gingrich said …

“If he does get to 1,144 delegates, I’ll support him and I’ll do everything I can this fall to help him defeat Obama because the primary goal of the entire Republican party has to be to defeat Barack Obama,” he said.

“This makes this maybe the most important election of our lifetime.”

Gingrich also said he’ll return to a “post-political” career if (when?) he doesn’t secure the nomination — but it’s hard to know exactly what he has in mind. Gingrich’s health care think tank recently declared bankruptcy, while his record-setting political action group, American Solutions, shut down in July 2011. Gingrich Productions, which Callista runs, is still operating, and I’m sure Newt has a book or two or three in him yet.

In the meantime, he’s turned his attention to affecting the platform the eventual GOP nominee will adopt, pushing robust energy policies, a plank to explicitly defend religious liberty and private Social Security accounts. The question still stands, though: Why will he not drop out? He must think he’s in a greater position to influence the ultimate platform while he can still steal delegates from Romney than he would be otherwise. He’s recovering his dignity by changing his focus to the platform rather than the horserace, though, and by acknowledging the reality that Mitt Romney will be the nominee — and, at this point, has pretty nearly earned it.