Georgia Gov. promises to back Gingrich presidential run

If former House Speaker Newt Gingrich runs for president, he'll have the support of Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R).

Speaking at a breakfast with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Deal told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Gingrich was a "friend" whom he would gladly support should the former lawmaker enter the race for president.

The AJC reported last week that Gingrich was canvassing Georgia Republicans for support and is considering basing his campaign out of Atlanta.

"He's, of course, a long-time friend and a supporter of my efforts to become governor of this state," said Deal. "It's no secret he is taking exploratory actions to determine whether or not he's going to pursue the presidency of the United States and we talked briefly about that."

Gingrich is one of several Republicans who have said they are strongly considering a run for the presidency. On Monday, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) released a video at an event in New Hampshire to promote his book Courage to Stand. The ad and its airing location suggest that Pawlenty has decided to run for president.

--Updated at 7:26 p.m.