It is "highly likely" Gingrich will endorse Mitt Romney during Tuesday's announcement, a source close to the campaign said.
After big losses in each of the five states that held their GOP primaries Tuesday night, Newt Gingrich said this morning that he thinks Mitt Romney is "ultimately going to be the nominee."
"I do think it's pretty clear that Gov. Romney is ultimately going to be the nominee," Gingrich said during a campaign stop at Georgio's restaurant in Cramerton, North Carolina. "And we're going to do everything we can make sure that he is in fact effective, and that we as a team are effective both in winning this Fall and then, frankly, in governing."
Gingrich would not respond to questions about the future of his campaign during the event, but said that he would be campaigning "as a citizen" over the next week, possibly hinting that he intends to officially suspend while still holding events in North Carolina.
"I want you to know that I've been coming here a long time as a citizen, I'm going to keep coming as a citizen, I have a schedule through the rest of the week as a citizen," Gingrich said, adding, as he often does, that he is "committed to going to Tampa" and "committed to campaigning all fall."
But after losing to Romney by a 29-point margin in the Delaware primary Tuesday night, Gingrich said that he is "going to look realistically at where we are at."
"You have to at some point be honest about what's happening in the real world as opposed to what you would like to have happen," Gingrich reiterated during his early morning stop today. "I think obviously that I would be a better candidate. But the objective fact is the voters didn't think that."
The trailing candidate insisted that he would follow through with the 23 events he has scheduled in North Carolina over the next week, a state that breathed new life into Ronald Reagan's dwindling campaign during the 1976 election.
Gingrich was looking to pull off a Reagan-style upset in North Carolina's May 8 primary and, like the conservative hero did 40 years ago, make the Republican primary competitive all the way to the GOP convention in Tampa this August.
"We're going to stay very, very active," Gingrich said today. "We're working out the details of our transition and will have information for the press over the next couple of days."
"I am committed to this party," he added. "I am committed to defeating Obama. We're will try to find ways to be helpful."
In the meantime, Gingrich is still receiving taxpayer-funded Secret Service protection, an expense the other remaining GOP hopeful Ron Paul has rejected. Paul has not won a single state in the GOP primary season and Gingrich has been on an 18-state losing streak, not having picked up a single win since Georgia, his home state, held its primary March 6.