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Report: Cain to Endorse Gingrich

Beyond helping cement Newt Gingrich as the “true conservative” in the field, what impact would Herman Cain’s reported endorsement have on the race?

Cain’s support has dwindled too much to really matter in New Hampshire and Iowa, but he still remains strong in Florida and South Carolina – two states where Gingrich already has a wide lead on Romney. But certainly this endorsement would still be a nice get for Gingrich:

Speculation is focused on Newt Gingrich, who like Cain hails from Georgia and who was the most effusive of all the Republican hopefuls in praising Cain after the announcement Saturday that he was suspending his campaign. …

A Gingrich spokesman said no endorsement from Cain is expected Monday — despite a report by an Atlanta television station Sunday night saying that one was forthcoming.

A Cain aide described Gingrich and Cain as “good friends,” dating back to Gingrich’s days as Speaker of the House and Cain’s time at the helm of the National Restaurant Association. The aide said an “endorsement announcement is coming soon,” but also declined to say precisely when — or to discuss who Cain, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, might back.

That’s also assuming Cain’s supporters will still respect him enough to be influenced by the endorsement. It’s easy to see how the circumstances of Cain’s exit could disillusion his supporters: Not only did he drag out his wife to defend him against sexual harassment charges, he also fundraised off of the whole debacle. If he knew a story like Ginger White’s could come out and torpedo his campaign, why would he ask supporters to send him money after the Politico allegations broke? And why would Cain push his wife out into the media to defend his integrity, when he knew full well he was keeping secrets from her?

Now that Cain’s suspending his campaign, Rich Lowry rightfully calls on him to return the money to backers who gave it in good faith. If he wants any chance of holding onto the respect of his supporters, he should do so immediately.