(CNN) - Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain endorsed Newt Gingrich Saturday at an event in West Palm Beach, Florida.
"I hereby officially and enthusiastically endorse Newt Gingrich for president of the United States," Cain said during a meeting of the Palm Beach County Republican Party.
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Cain cited the former House speaker's "bold ideas" as the basis for his choice, saying Gingrich wasn't afraid to propose big ideas that would benefit the nation, even if they invited the ridicule of his rivals.
"There are many reasons, but one of the biggest reasons is that I know that Speaker Gingrich is a patriot," Cain said. "Speaker Gingrich is not afraid of bold ideas and I also know that Speaker Gingrich is running for president and going through this sausage grinder. I know what this sausage grinder is all about. I know that he is going through this sausage grinder because he cares about the future of the United States of America."
Appearing on CNN "Newsroom" after making his endorsement, Cain said Gingrich's platforms closely matched his own, including the 9-9-9 tax plan.
"When you find a candidate that basically is running still on the ideas and the ideologies that I was running on, along with him embracing 9-9-9, then it was a no-brainer and I thought that the timing was right," Cain said.
Gingrich said at the West Palm Beach event Saturday Cain's 9-9-9 plan would become part of the national conversation, but the candidate has not offically adopted the tax proposal as part of his platform.
While Cain enjoyed a spike in polls last fall, the impact of his endorsement is unclear. When he dropped out of the race in December, polls showed him toward the back of the pack of candidates. Asked on CNN Saturday how his endorsement would effect the race, Cain said he was more focused on guiding his remaining supporters.
"I don't care about where he stands in the polls," Cain said of Gingrich. "And whether my endorsement helps him or not, that's not the point. It's to let my supporters know that he is the closest to what I represented when I was still a candidate."
In a statement, Gingrich applauded Cain as a fellow "big ideas" candidate,
“America’s challenges are too great for mere tinkering around the edges," Gingrich said. "Just like Herman, who ran his campaign based on big ideas, I am running on bold solutions that will boost job creation, cut bureaucratic red tape, and fundamentally transform Washington."
Cain also accepted Gingrich's invitation to co-chair the former speaker's Tax Reform and Economic Growth Advisory Council, according to the release.
Cain ended his bid for the 2012 GOP nomination in early December after battling allegations of past sexual harassment. Cain attracted attention and followers for aggressively promoting his "9-9-9" tax plan, as well as for his charismatic personality and appeal among tea party activists.
Gingrich also received the backing of former presidential candidate Rick Perry after the Texas governor dropped out of the race ahead of the South Carolina primary earlier this month.