Given the way Gingrich wore out his welcome, Romney could easily leave him out in the cold. But he owes his rival for one big favor.
Newt Gingrich is preparing to drop out of the presidential race, and not a moment too soon. Barring some change in the rules of physics and the Republican National Committee, it has long been and continues to be impossible for him to gather enough delegates to oust Mitt Romney as the party's nominee -- something he has periodically acknowledged, even as he continues to amble from state to state, zombielike, visiting zoos and declaring himself the "last conservative standing."
Gingrich plans to endorse Romney when he exits the race next week -- something Rick Santorum, who dropped out April 10, still hasn't done -- and Romney appears eager to accept the endorsement. He called Gingrich Wednesday morning, according to ABC News, to say "that if [Gingrich] was going to end his campaign, he would want Newt to be part of his team," in the words of a Gingrich adviser. Gingrich, for his part, assured Romney his endorsement would be "full-throated and without reservation."
It will be interesting to see what sort of accommodation gets made between the two men, and between Romney and Santorum when they finally have their rapprochement. (The two have a meeting planned for May 4.) Both Gingrich and Santorum have made noises about wanting to be a voice for conservatives in the GOP and to see that Romney doesn't stray too far to the center as he campaigns toward November. Both arguably overstayed their welcome in the primary, continuing to campaign -- and to damage Romney and the party -- past the point where there was any constructive rationale for their candidacy. In contrast to the generally positive vibes between Romney's camp and that of still-campaigning Rep. Ron Paul, there's little love between Team Romney and the Santorum and Gingrich camps -- understandably so.