Rick Perry Suspends Campaign

PHOTO: Rick Perry speaks to people at the Southern Thymes Restaurant on Trade St. on Jan. 18, 2012 in Greer, S.C.
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Rick Perry ended his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination and endorsed Newt Gingrich this morning, saying he saw "no viable path forward" after his dwindling support took him from front-runner status to dead last.

Perry entered the GOP race as a breath of fresh air to many conservatives who hoped for a suitable candidate to oppose Mitt Romney, but after a few bad debate performances and poor finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire, he sank in the polls, and his supporters began to give up.

In South Carolina, Perry was polling in last place, in single digits, before the primary on Saturday.

Perry, who took no questions after his speech in South Carolina announcing his decision, called Gingrich a "conservative visionary." At an ABC News debate in December, Perry alluded to Gingrich's infidelity as a reason not to trust him, saying that "if you cheat on your wife, you'll cheat on your business partner, so I think that issue of fidelity is important."

This morning, Perry said that "Newt is not perfect, but who among us is?"

"The fact is, there is forgiveness for those who seek God," Perry said. "And I believe in the power of redemption, for it is a central tenet of my Christian faith."

Perry decided to drop out of the race late afternoon Wednesday while in Greenville, campaign spokesman Ray Sullivan told reporters after his speech. Perry broke the news to some of his staff members at a Wendy's restaurant after they landed in Charleston in the evening, and he phoned Gingrich this morning.

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