Gingrich drops bid in presidential election race

Gingrich drops bid in presidential election race

Newt Gingrich has formally ended his presidential campaign, but fell short of an endorsement for presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

Gingrich announced his departure from the White House race in a long statement to the media at a hotel in Arlington, Virginia outside the capital that included references to his many grandiose ideas like the establishment of a U.S. colony on the moon.

His exit leaves only Ron Paul, an anti-tax and anti-war veteran Texas congressman, officially in the race against Romney. Former U.S. senator Rick Santorum, who overtook Gingrich as the Republicans’ favorite alternative to Romney, quit the race last month.

‘Philosopher king’
Gingrich, the former U.S. House of Representatives speaker, the face of the Republican Party in the mid-1990s, badly trailed front-runner Mitt Romney in polls and his campaign piled up a debt of $4.3 million. He must now work on paying off his debt. He fell short of endorsing Romney but said voters had a clear choice in November’s general election between Democratic President Barack Obama and the former Massachusetts governor.

Gingrich touted himself as the Republican Party’s philosopher king, an intellectual with conservative roots going back to the Reagan years and a debater who could make mincemeat of Obama.
However, his multiple marriages and erratic record on policy positions made the Republican right mistrust him, while his love of public speaking tended to translate into lecturing, rather than inspiring speeches.

Compiled from AFP and Reuters stories by the Daily News staff.