By Meghashyam Mali - 01/31/12 02:04 PM EST
Businessman and former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain defended Newt Gingrich on Tuesday, saying the former House Speaker had not “betrayed the business world” in his attacks on rival Mitt Romney’s business record.
“I don’t believe he betrayed the business world,” said Cain on NBC’s "Today" show. "I have known him since the early 1990s. I know from my own personal experience with Speaker Gingrich when I worked on the economic growth and tax reform commission under Jack Kemp.
“I know he is business-friendly; I know he is pro-growth; and I do believe he would be bold in making the necessary tax changes in order to boost this economy,” said Cain, who endorsed the former House Speaker on Saturday.
In recent days, Gingrich has broadened his attacks to paint Romney as the favorite of Wall Street special interests. “He can bury me for a very short amount of time with four or five or six times as much money, most of it raised on Wall Street, coming from the guys who got bailouts from the government," he said on Monday of Romney’s ad blitz in Florida, where Gingrich trails ahead of Tuesday's primary.
But Cain, who described the presidential nomination process as “ugly and bitter,” disavowed any endorsement of Gingrich’s tactics.
“You have to make a decision. If you take both candidates, there will be some things you don't like. I didn't get involved in Speaker Gingrich's tactics and I haven't been involved in Gov. Romney's tactics," he said.
"You have to say, 'What are the things that I agree with the candidate on, and what are the things versus how much I disagree with their tactics or political strategy?' "
Cain also said that despite his endorsement of Gingrich, he would support Romney if he is the party's eventual nominee. "The process is what it is and yes, there is going to be some competition amongst the candidates all the way up, but I am committed to support whoever [wins] the nomination," pledged Cain.
"I could be very comfortable with Mitt Romney," he added.
Cain said that he had endorsed Gingrich because of the similarities between their proposals for reforming the tax code.
He said he “saw how close his tax plan came to my 9-9-9 plan, we talked and then I decided to endorse.”
Cain said he was not asked by Gingrich for his endorsement. "Nope, he did not lobby me," he said.
He added that Gingrich offered him a job in his administration addressing jobs and tax reform and said he would accept such a position. "The reason is, is because his tax proposal, remember, my No. 1 issue was the economy, which is why I put the bold 9-9-9 plan on the table. His comes closest than any other candidate."
Cain suspended his campaign for the GOP nomination following revelations that he had been accused of sexual harassment by multiple women.
The former candidate said he did not regret his decision to drop out of the race, saying his run was responsible for “elevating some of the discourse." He said he was surprised by the “personal cost” of his campaign.
"There were some things I expected but there were some things that I didn't expect," said Cain. "I didn't expect that the gutter politics would get as bad as it did and I made a decision to put family first and that's why I bowed out."