Newt Gingrich plans to drop out of the Republican presidential nomination race on May 1, campaign aides have told Fox News — and endorse the GOP's presumptive nominee, Mitt Romney, at the same time. The decision, which came after Romney's five-primary sweep on Tuesday, is a major reversal for Gingrich, who'd vowed to fight all the way to the convention in August. Did Newt damage the GOP by waiting so long to bow out?

Yes. He should have been gone well before this: Gingrich certainly "didn't help his party or the conservative movement" with his needlessly drawn out campaign, says Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post. He added nothing to the debate, short of his plan to colonize the moon. If anything, he weakened his party's chances in the fall. "His attack on [fellow Republican] Paul Ryan's Medicare plan may reverberate in the November election. His attack on Mitt Romney's Bain experience lent credence to the Left's class warfare."
"What did Newt Gingrich's run accomplish?"

Newt only harmed himself: By the end, Gingrich was such a non-factor he wasn't hurting Romney, says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. By refusing to accept reality for so long, he did nothing but "[damage] his own credibility and financial future, especially with four third-place finishes behind Ron Paul." Maybe if he wises up and offers his endorsement, Romney will have pity on him and help retire his $4 million-plus campaign debt.
"Unofficially conceding to Romney?"

Once again, the predicted civil war never happened: In 2008, Hillary Clinton's supporters claimed they wouldn't back Barack Obama after her exit, says Michael Laprarie at Wizbang, but they ultimately did. Likewise, the GOP is uniting behind Romney after all. "Both Santorum and Gingrich have bowed out of the race peacefully" and urged their supporters to retain their principles while supporting the party. Despite all the talk of a contested convention, "the nomination belongs to Romney," and the GOP is no worse for the wear.
"Newt Gingrich out of Republican presidential race"