Gingrich all but quits presidential campaign

This week, Newt Gingrich will hold events in North Carolina, New York, Delaware and Missouri as he maintains a packed 2012 campaign schedule. But the former House speaker's activity belies what is quickly becoming the certain end of his presidential bid.

Asked by "Fox News Sunday" host Brit Hume Sunday if he's resigned to the idea of Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee, Gingrich flatly agreed. "Well, I think you have to be realistic, given the size of his organization, given the number of primaries he's won. He is far and away the most likely Republican nominee," Gingrich said, adding a preemptive endorsement. "And if he does get to 1,144 delegates, I'll support him. I'll do everything I can this fall to help him defeat Obama."

Gingrich agreed with the assertion that he's remaining in the race to influence the Republican Party.

Gingrich has won just two nominating contestsSouth Carolina and his home state of Georgiaand has garnered just 133 delegates, according to the Associated Press. Romney has 642 delegates, more than half the 1,144 necessary to secure the nomination.

Gingrich revealed Sunday that he's "slightly less" than $4.5 million in debt and is currently operating "on a shoestring." Those numbers will be official after candidates file their quarterly reports to the Federal Election Commission April 15.

Gingrich's presence in the race continues to rile Rick Santorum and his supporters, who have long been eager for Gingrich to drop out of the race in the hopes of encouraging conservatives to coalesce behind Santorum. Gingrich was a topic of conversation last Thursday when Santorum gathered with conservatives to plot his path forward.

Gingrich plans to spend Monday in North Carolina, Tuesday in New York and North Carolina, and Wednesday in Delaware. He has yet to announce travel plans for Thursday, and will be in Missouri and North Carolina Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Update 2:08 p.m. ET: Romney reportedly said on Mike Huckabee's radio show Monday afternoon that Gingrich's comments were expected. "It was not a surprise, he and I have spoken from time to time, and actually we have also gotten together with our wives and spoken," Romney said, according to news reports. "We're pretty open-eyed about this, as we talk about where we are at this stage. In all likelihood I will be the one that gets the delegates to become the nominee."

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