GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich welcomed the decision by his rival Mitt Romney to release his tax returns.

The focus of the race could now go on to "bigger and more important things," said Gingrich Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press.

"I think that's a very good thing that he's doing," Gingrich said. "And I commend him for it and I think it's the, exactly the right thing to do and as far as I'm concerned, that particular issue's now set aside and we can go on and talk about other bigger and more important things. "

Earlier on Sunday, Romney announced that he would release his tax returns on Tuesday. 

The decision came after increased pressure from critics on the left and the right calling on him to do so, with many suggesting that Romney was seeking to avoid disclosing his financial information. 

Romney had been hesitant to say when he would release the returns even as he was repeatedly asked to clarify his intentions.

In announcing his plans to release the returns, Romney said the issue had become a distraction. 

"I think we made a mistake holding off as long as we did," Romney said on Fox News Sunday. "It was a distraction. We want to get back to the real issues of the campaign."

In the same interview on NBC, Gingrich, coming off a decisive win in the South Carolina Republican primary, said South Carolina voters had voiced their opinion on the former House Speaker's past conduct. Just before the Palmetto State primary, Gingrich's second ex-wife, Marianne, said Gingrich had asked for an open marriage when the two were together. Gingrich’s marital background has been seen by some as a liability for his candidacy.  The former speaker is in his third marriage.

"I think the people of South Carolina did just that. And they did it by a huge margin. And they repudiated the effort to go back and drag up things, particularly at the opening of a national debate," Gingrich said. "Last night, on stage, Callista and I were on stage. We have a wonderful marriage. My two daughters and their husbands were there. They're tremendous supporters."

Gingrich won Saturday’s South Carolina primary with 40 percent of the vote, beating Mitt Romney with about 27 percent and Rick Santorum with 17 percent.