Gingrich Says He's Already Endorsed Romney, Still Critical

By: CNN Posted By Doug Brown
By: CNN Posted By Doug Brown

Washington (CNN) – A day after a seemingly lukewarm embrace of presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich said Thursday he had fully endorsed the former Massachusetts governor and would enthusiastically campaign on his behalf.

"I thought I was endorsing him," Gingrich said of his speech Wednesday, in which he formally announced he was suspending his bid for the GOP nomination. Gingrich was speaking in an interview on "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

The former House speaker said he tried to make clear he was fully backing Romney, despite barely mentioning him during his departure speech.

"I said I want to campaign for him and he will appoint dramatically better judges than the president and he'll do a better job creating jobs than the president and he'll do far more to balance the budget. I went down the list of why Mitt Romney is better than Barack Obama," Gingrich said.

In his Wednesday event, Gingrich mentioned Romney only briefly, focusing instead on a lengthy list of issues he advocated as a candidate. He praised Romney, but portrayed the choice between the Republican and President Barack Obama as a no-brainer.

"I am asked sometimes is Mitt Romney conservative enough? And my answer is simple – compared to Barack Obama? This is not a choice between Mitt Romney and Ronald Reagan. This is a choice between Mitt Romney and the most radical leftist president in American history," Gingrich said in his speech.

When confronted Thursday with an Obama campaign video splicing together some of his harshest comments on Romney, Gingrich barely backed off his assertion, made during the height of the GOP primary battle, that Romney was a liar.

"The governor said some things that weren't true," Gingrich said.

He added he trusted Romney over Obama "100 times over."

As for potential names on Romney's vice presidential short list, Gingrich offered a slate of oft-mentioned politicians: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels.

"You always have to consider three things," Gingrich said of the running mate selection. "Are they capable of being president? Are they philosophically compatible and will they help you win, in that order? And that's the order you've got to think about it. I think he's got a pretty wide range. I think our bench is actually pretty deep."

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