Gingrich, Romney in secret talks

The hush-hush meeting occurred on Saturday, and according to the Washington Times, no deal was reached between the two candidates that would see the former speaker drop his bid for the nomination.

Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich met secretly with GOP rival Mitt Romney on Saturday, according to a source close to the campaign, but the former House speaker says he has made no deal to end his bid for the GOP nomination.

Mr. Gingrich, responding to questions from The Washington Times, did not deny the meeting, but explicitly said he hasn't been offered a position in a potential Romney administration in exchange for dropping out.

Nor, he said, is there a deal to have Mr. Romney's big donors help retire Mr. Gingrich's campaign debt of more than $1 million.

"There is no agreement of any kind, and I plan to go all the way to Tampa," Mr. Gingrich said, referring to the August GOP presi[JUMP]dential nominating convention in Florida.

Mr. Gingrich announced Tuesday that he was "downsizing the campaign, not suspending it. I am in Maryland, North Carolina and Delaware next week. We have events already scheduled in Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, Missouri."

According to a source close to the Gingrich campaign, the two GOP rivals met early on the day of the Louisiana primary at Mr. Romney's hotel in New Orleans.

On Tuesday, the former House speaker signaled that he is toning down the anti-Romney rhetoric he has used on the campaign circuit, telling reporters while campaigning in Annapolis that, "Obviously I will support [Mitt Romney] and will be delighted to do anything I can to help defeat Barack Obama."

No doubt Newt would accept a cabinet level position - but probably not something below the level of Secretary of Defense or State. No Commerce department for Newt.

Much more likely is the retirement of Gingrich's campaign debt by Romney moneymen in exchange for an endorsement and dropping his challenge. That debt is growing by the week, especially now that Newt's personal angel, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, believes the candidate is at the "end of the line."

And while there may not have been a "deal" per se, Gingrich's softening tone toward Romney is probably meant to show that he is willing to join the team at some point down the road.That may make it easier for Romney to help retire his campaign debt eventually, although as time goes on, Gingrich loses leverage as Romney pulls closer to the 1144 delegates he needs to win.