Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich Reuters

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich formally exited the Republican presidential contest Wednesday, and vowed to help Mitt Romney’s bid to defeat President Barack Obama.

“Today, I am suspending the campaign. But suspending the campaign does not mean suspending citizenship,” The Associated Press quoted Gingrich as having told a hotel ballroom in suburban Washington.

“We are now going to put down the role of candidate and candidate’s spouse and take back the role of active citizens,” Gingrich, who appeared alongside his wife, said.

He also urged conservatives to rally behind Romney as a better alternative than Obama.

“This is not a choice between Mitt Romney and Ronald Reagan. This is a choice between Mitt Romney and the most radical, leftist president in American history,” Gingrich said.

Gingrich said on Tuesday, in a video posted on his website, that he plans to make an official announcement regarding the suspension of his campaign the following day.

Last week, Gingrich's spokesman acknowledged the writing was on the wall for the embattled candidate, after Romney swept all five of the state contests that were held on April 24. Gingrich has only won two states, Georgia and South Carolina.

Gingrich downsized his campaign after he continuously failed to win any states. As part of the downsizing the campaign laid off one-third of its full-time employees and scaled back campaign appearances.

During his campaign he several times took pro-Israel positions, and in one interview went so far as to describe Palestinian Authority Arabs as “invented people”. The remarks angered the Palestinian Authority.

Gingrich also said he would consider granting clemency for Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard, and vowed that if he is elected, he will move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel's national capital, the city of Jerusalem.

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