Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who once led the polls in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, all but conceded the race Sunday to his rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

In an interview with “Fox News Sunday,” Mr. Gingrich called Mr. Romney “far and away the most likely Republican nominee,” adding that he would throw his support behind the front-runner if Mr. Romney secured the required delegates for the nomination.

“If I end up not being the nominee, I have already talked to Chairman Reince Priebus at the Republican National Committee,” he said. “I’d want to work this fall to help defeat [President Barack] Obama any way I could. Whatever the team thinks I can do to be helpful, I would do.”

Both Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Romney hit each other hard during the primary race. “It turned out he had more things to hit with than I did,” Mr. Gingrich said. “And that’s part of the business.”

But while acknowledging Mr. Romney’s likely nomination, Mr. Gingrich said he would stay in the race to influence Republican thinking on issues from U.S. energy independence to revamping Social Security.

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