(WASHINGTON) — Less than two months ago, Herman Cain, who was out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination, stood on a stage in West Palm Beach, just three days before the Florida primary, and told the crowd, “I hereby officially and enthusiastically endorse Newt Gingrich for the president of the Unites States.” Gingrich had just come off a sweeping win in South Carolina, had the fundraising dollars pouring in and had a financial safety net in billionaire donor Sheldon Adelson.
But on Monday, Cain walked back his endorsement of Gingrich, saying, “With all due respect, let’s get on with this, OK?”
“I even endorsed Newt Gingrich at one point because I thought that he had a shot. Well, not now. He doesn’t have a shot,” Cain said to Washington radio station WMAL.
A former Cain staffer told ABC News that Cain’s call for Gingrich to bow out isn’t surprising.
“He likes to go with his gut. Mr. Cain walked up to line of joining the establishment without crossing it,” the former Cain staffer said.
Cain refused to comment to ABC News Monday over that morning’s comments about Gingrich, but Gingrich campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond said the party is trying is lock down the nomination.
“The angle right now is for the party to get to a nominee as fast as possible,” Hammond said. “It’s up to Herman Cain whether or not he’s put in his application with the establishment.”
Cain wasn’t the only Republican candidate to suspend his campaign and endorse the “not-Romney” candidate. Rick Perry also endorsed Gingrich when he left the race.
A spokesman for Perry, Catherine Frazier, told ABC News that he will stay loyal to Gingrich but will support the eventual nominee.
“Gov. Perry puts a premium on loyalty and he’ll back Gingrich as long as he’s in the race,” Frazier said.
More trouble came for Gingrich a couple of weeks ago, when Adelson said Gingrich was “at the end of his line.” Monday reports surfaced that Adelson donated $5 million to a super PAC supporting House Republicans. It is a clear sign his money is no longer filtering to the Gingrich campaign, which is expected to post nearly $4.5 million in debt.
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