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Gingrich recognizes Romney as the 'nominee'

CRAMERTON, N.C. –- Newt Gingrich finally admitted Wednesday morning that Mitt Romney will be the Republican Party’s nominee for president this year.

Addressing supporters inside a local diner here following a disappointing second place finish Tuesday night in Delaware, Gingrich went a step closer to ending his presidential race this morning, after hinting at it last night during his election night speech.

"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 admitted. "Gov. Romney had a very good day yesterday. You have to give him some credit. This guy has worked six years, put together a big machine and has put together a serious campaign.”

The former House speaker went on to recognize Romney -- the former governor who swept all five primaries yesterday -- as the man who will compete against President Obama in the fall.

“I do think it's pretty clear that Gov. Romney is ultimately going to be the nominee and we'll do everything we can to 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 said to the roughly 75 people in attendance, noting he still believes he would be a better candidate.

Calling himself a “citizen” multiple times inside Georgio’s Restaurant, the Speaker vowed to stay involved in the presidential race and admitted he is working out the details of his “transition” this week (although would not define transition when asked by reporters following the event.)

"We're going to stay very, very active,” Gingrich promised. “But I am committed to this party. I am committed to defeating Obama. We will find ways to try to be helpful."

Gingrich will remain “campaigning” in the Tar Heel State through Friday before heading back to Washington, D.C., to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner Saturday night.