EASLEY, S.C. — Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is drawing big, enthusiastic crowds and fending off new attacks from GOP front-runner Mitt Romney while reveling in a strong debate performance and a nod from tea party favorite Sarah Palin.
Now he’s set to pick up the endorsement of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who officials say is abandoning his presidential bid to back the former House speaker. Adding to the intrigue, a bus emblazoned with Herman Cain’s name sat in the hotel parking lot where Perry was to speak and endorse Gingrich. Cain, a tea party favorite, dropped out of the race late last year.