Perry Quits Race, Backs Gingrich - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Perry Quits Race, Backs Gingrich

MSNBC.COM - Texas Governor Rick Perry announced Thursday morning that he is dropping out of the presidential race and is endorsing Newt Gingrich for the Republican nomination.

"There is no viable path forward for me," he told supporters on Thursday. "I gave fully of myself for a cause worthy of this country," he added. Perry said it was time for him to make a "strategic retreat."

Of Gingrich, he said, "Newt is  not perfect, but who among us is?" Perry continued, "There is forgiveness for those of us who seek God."

The decision came just two days before the critical South Carolina primary where polls show him lagging far behind other GOP challengers.

Perry finished fifth in both Iowa and New Hampshire and, at one at one point said he was going to go back to Texas to reassess his path forward, but then headed to South Carolina to campaign instead.

Perry made his announcement hours before a scheduled GOP debate in South Carolina.

He said that "the campaign has never been about the candidates," adding that "the mission is greater than the man."

Saying he will now return to the Lone Star State, Perry said, "A calling never guarantees a particular outcome."

He entered the race last August to great fanfare and high poll numbers. But his standing quickly fell after a series of campaign blunders. During a nationally televised debate in early November, he could not remember the name of the third Cabinet department he had pledged to eliminate. "Oops," he told the audience. He later admitted of the gaffe, "I stepped in it."

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