WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Former presidential candidate Herman Cain, who last week endorsed "the American people," announced his support on Saturday of another entity -- this time a Republican hoping to win the White House.
"I hereby officially and enthusiastically endorse Newt Gingrich for president of the United States," Cain said at a GOP fundraiser.
Speaking to supporters on the day he left the race last month, the former head of Godfather's Pizza said he would be making an endorsement. But at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in South Carolina last week, he announced that his official endorsement would be of "we the people."
While Cain publicly promoted his endorsement last week, the one he made Saturday night came with little warning. The announcement was a surprise to Gingrich staff, and the traveling press who most frequently cover the former House speaker were not in attendance after boycotting the price the campaign was charging for chartered flights.
"There are many reasons, but one of the biggest reasons is that I know that Speaker Gingrich is a patriot. Speaker Gingrich is not afraid of bold ideas, and I also know that Speaker Gingrich is running for president and going through this sausage grinder," said Cain. "I know what this sausage grinder is all about. I know that he is going through this sausage grinder because he cares about the future of the United States of America."
Cain abandoned his presidential bid amongst accusations from women claiming he sexually harassed them while heading the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. Describing the accusations as false attacks from the media and rivals, Cain's campaign sought to slog through the scandal. That was until a Georgia woman went public claiming to have had an affair with the former businessman for more than a decade.
On Dec. 2, Cain returned to his Atlanta home to meet with his wife and discuss the future of his candidacy. The next day he suspended his campaign.
Gingrich is now in an uphill battle to compete in the Sunshine State with the better funded Mitt Romney.
Cain becomes the second former presidential candidate to endorse Gingrich. Texas Gov. Rick Perry dropped out and announced his support just two days before Gingrich's decisive South Carolina primary victory.
Gingrich signaled that there might be room in his administration for Cain, and that Cain’s 9-9-9 economic plan would be on the table. Gingrich called Cain "a great asset."
Cain will be campaigning with Gingrich in Florida on Monday.