After an early meteoric surge in the polls, followed by steadily declining popularity among voters, Texas Governor Rick Perry, as expected, dropped out of the GOP presidential race on January 19.
“I know when it is time to make a strategic retreat,” said Perry at a late morning press conference in South Carolina, where other Republican primary candidates were aggressively campaigning ahead of the state’s January 21 primary. “I will leave the trail, return to Texas, and lay down my 2012 campaign.”
In suspending his campaign, the Texas Governor said he would throw his support behind former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, whom he said “has the heart of a conservative reformer.” As Gingrich was bracing for an ABC Nightline interview featuring one of his former wives recalling that he had wanted an “open marriage,” Perry took up the former Congressman’s defense. “Newt is not perfect, but who among us is,” said the departing Perry. “The fact is there is forgiveness for those who seek God. And I believe in the power of redemption, for it is a central tenet of my Christian faith.”
Gingrich expressed due gratitude to his erstwhile opponent, telling reporters that he was “humbled and honored to have the support of my friend Rick Perry. His selflessness is yet another demonstration of his deep sense of citizenship and commitment to the cause of limited government, historic American values, and greater freedom for every American.”
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Photo of Gov. Rick Perry: AP Images