Rick Perry officially dropped his bid for the Republican presidential nomination Thursday. The former candidate has given his support to former House speaker Newt Gingrich.
Not about any specific candidate
Perry said Thursday at a press conference in North Charleston, S.C., that the current campaign has never been about specific candidates but about ousting President Obama. However, with his dismal sixth-place showing in the New Hampshire primary — in which he received less than 1 percent of votes – he has had to concede that he will not be the “conservative leader who will bring about real change,” as he phrased it.
“I have come to the conclusion that there is no viable path forward for me in the 2012 campaign,” Perry said. “I know when it’s time to make a strategic retreat.”
Instead, Perry is pinning his hopes on Newt Gingrich, whom he called “a conservative visionary who can transform our country.”
Perry’s support of Gingrich, who is currently facing fire over claims from his ex-wife, Marianne, that he wanted an “open marriage,” will seem strange to some. Last December Perry was quoted as saying he has “always kind of been of the opinion that if you cheat on your wife, you’ll cheat on your business partner.”
GOP darling, for a while
Perry was the darling of the GOP when his candidacy was first announced in August. He shot to the top of the opinion polls for a brief time in a campaign season that has been marked by the rise and fall of various GOP “flavor-of-the month” candidates. But after a series of embarrassing debate gaffes, Perry’s numbers began to slip rapidly, culminating in his disastrous showings in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Some conservatives have called for Perry to step down in order to clear the field for other conservatives. Wednesday, conservative radio talk show host Laura Ingraham called for him to drop out.
The race continues
Mitt Romney is still the front-funner in the GOP race, but he was virtually tied by Rick Santorum in the Iowa caucuses. Meanwhile, there is growing support for Gingrich from other conservative groups. And so the tussle for the top spot continues in this unusually scrappy campaign season.
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