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Gingrich forgives Romney: He 'did what he had to do to become the nominee'

Newt Gingrich said he no longer holds a grudge against Mitt Romney, his one-time competitor for the Republican nomination for president.

“Mitt Romney did what he had to do to become the nominee,” Gingrich said. “He’s worked at this six years…When he got to the crunch, he was tough enough and smart enough to beat me in Florida,” he told Chris Matthews on Hardball Thursday night. (Video in two parts.)

Gingrich endorsed Romney for president earlier this month after dropping out of the race himself.

In a wide-ranging interview in which Gingrich compared Romney to Dwight Eisenhower at one point, the former speaker of the House praised Romney for assembling a “very smart group of people,” and listening to them. He called the candidate “a successful politician,” while maintaining that Romney had not always told the truth about Gingrich on the campaign trail.


While Gingrich and several other Republicans who competed in the GOP primary are credited with initiating the attacks on Romney’s record as a businessman, it is the Obama re-election campaign that has more recently taken up that line of attack. Gingrich said he now believes such messages won’t work.

“Here’s the problem they’ve got,” he said of the Obama campaign. “It didn’t work. I wouldn’t have won it on that issue. It doesn’t work in general.”

Gingrich is expected to join Romney for a Donald Trump-headlined fundraiser for the Republican candidate in Las Vegas next week.

Gingrich didn’t skip a beat when asked by Matthews why the Republican party doesn’t just “lose the birther stuff” and drop those like Trump who have raised questions around President Obama’s birth certificate “off the back of the caboose?”

“Beats me,” he said.