Gingrich praises Cain for optimism, big ideas

By BETH FOUHY | December 3, 2011 | 2:51 PM EST

FILE - In this Dec. 1, 2011 file photo, Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks in West Des Moines, Iowa. Back from the political dead, Gingrich has momentum on his side just a month before the first voting in the GOP nomination fight. But he has never fully rebuilt his organization after almost his entire team quit in June, and his fundraising is questionable at best. Will that matter when he goes up against the well-funded and organized Mitt Romney for actual votes. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Newt Gingrich is praising GOP presidential rival Herman Cain for bringing optimism and big ideas to the 2012 campaign.

Gingrich, a former House speaker, made his comments at a tea party rally on New York's Staten Island, not long after Cain said he was suspending his campaign.

Polls show that Gingrich's candidacy has surged in recent weeks, with many showing him topping the Republican field.

Gingrich refused to say the race has come down to a two-man contest with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney just a month before the first vote, in Iowa.

Gingrich says any of the Republicans could rebound before the Iowa caucuses, just as he did after his campaign almost collapsed last summer.