But on Monday, Gingrich said "people are not going to take that as a major issue.”

The former rival was appearing at a electronics store in Northern Virginia, one of 16 nationwide events held by the Romney campaign to knock President Obama's "you didn't build that" comment from a town hall earlier this month.

Gingrich also defended Romney over comments the White House hopeful made during a fundraiser in Israel earlier Monday. In the remarks, Romney suggested cultural differences could explain the income disparity between Israelis and Palestinians, angering some Palestinian officials. But Gingrich, a former academic, said the comments were legitimate.

“I think that the whole issue of how do you encourage an economy based on trust and faith, how do you encourage the rule of law when you have Hamas and Hezbollah and Fatah and I think there is a legitimate question to say maybe these are antithetical to being prosperous," Gingrich said. "I find it fascinating that nobody wants to ask the question, why is Hong Kong prosperous? Why is Singapore prosperous? Why is Israel prosperous? Why can't we apply this same prosperity to Gaza? Why can't we apply this same prosperity to the West Bank?”

And the former House Speaker said he was okay with the possibility he wouldn't be invited to speak at the Republican convention. In April, as Gingrich was winding down his campaign, aides said he hoped to play a prominent role in Tampa.

“I personally am very comfortable not giving a speech because I think frankly, there is a whole new generation of candidates out there and people who represent the future,” Gingrich told NBC News. “But we haven’t talked about that yet.”