Rick Santorum suspends US presidential campaign

 

Rick Santorum: "We are not done fighting"

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum has ended his bid for the White House, leaving Mitt Romney as the presumptive nominee.

The former Pennsylvania senator made the announcement at a news conference in the city of Gettysburg.

"While this presidential race is over for me, we are not done fighting," said Mr Santorum, a social conservative.

He had been campaigning in Pennsylvania, his home state, ahead of its primary on 24 April.

But he was far behind Mr Romney in terms of funding and was in danger of losing the state for the second time in six years, analysts said.

In 2006 Mr Santorum lost his Pennsylvania Senate seat by an 18-point margin.

In the current race for the Republican nomination, Mr Santorum lags far behind Mr Romney in terms of the number of delegates needed to seal the nomination at the Republican convention in Tampa, Florida, in late August.

'Against all odds'

Mr Santorum's children and his wife Karen stood behind him in Gettysburg as he made the announcement that he was suspending his campaign.

Analysis

To all intents and purposes, the Republican race is over. With Rick Santorum out, Mitt Romney can focus solely on Barack Obama. His message is that the president has failed America on the economy - burdening small businesses with tax and regulations, while widening the deficit through what he says is an obsession with government spending.

The Obama campaign fully expected Mitt Romney to be the nominee. In a statement, it accused the multi-millionaire challenger of trying to buy the election - through negative adverts funded by special interests. And it claimed the more the American people saw of Mr Romney, the less they liked and trusted him. It all points to a brutal and very personal campaign.

He had taken time off the campaign trail in recent days as his three-year-old daughter Isabella, who has a rare genetic disorder, was admitted to hospital.

Mr Santorum proved to be the most resilient of the Republican rivals challenging Mr Romney's front-runner status.

In his statement he said he had surpassed expectations, adding that "against all odds, we won 11 states, millions of voters, millions of votes".

"We were winning in a very different way," Mr Santorum said, "We were touching hearts."

He remembered some of the volunteers he worked with during the campaign.

Without the help of people like Wendy in Iowa, who made 5,000 phone calls or the girls in Tulsa, Oklahoma, whose song "Game On" became an internet sensation, the campaign would not have come as far as it did, Mr Santorum said.

Mr Santorum mentioned his visit to the factory of the Minnesota manufacturer of his sweater vests, which became known as the former Senator's signature outfit.

'Worthy competitor'

Mr Santorum won a total of 11 primaries and caucuses, and picked up additional delegates in states that awarded them proportionally.

He emerged on the national scene on the night of the Iowa caucuses in January, eventually winning the state by a whisker after victory was initially handed to Mr Romney.

His old-fashioned, hard-working campaign style saw him visit every one of the Iowa's 99 counties in the months preceding the vote, and won him the respect and support of many in the state.

He continued to garner strong support in the Midwest and in the South, halting Mr Romney in a swathe of states from Minnesota to Alabama and as far west as Colorado and North Dakota.

In conceding that he could not win the nomination Mr Santorum made no specific mention of Mr Romney, and did not say whether he planned to endorse the front-runner.

However, he reportedly telephoned the former governor to concede shortly before speaking to reporters.

In a statement, Mr Romney congratulated Mr Santorum on his campaign, calling him an "able and worthy competitor".

"He has proven himself to be an important voice in our party and in the nation," the former Massachusetts governor said.

Gingrich and Paul defiant

Meanwhile, fellow candidate Newt Gingrich said Mr Santorum had run a "remarkable campaign", adding that "his success is a testament to his tenacity and the power of conservative principles".

Mr Gingrich, though, insisted that he would remain in the race in an effort to broaden the policy discussion and offer a conservative alternative to Mr Romney.

Texas Congressman Ron Paul congratulated the former senator on running a "spirited campaign". Mr Paul has the fewest delegates but, like Mr Gingrich, has refused to pull out of the contest.

Despite them remaining in the race, many analysts quickly characterised Mr Santorum's decision as the moment the general election campaign effectively began.

Mr Romney, who made his fortune in a private equity firm is now seen as the man to take on Democratic President Barack Obama, a former law professor and community organiser, in November's election.

 

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 43.

    Its amazing Ron Paul luvvies come out in droves to praise their very old and very unhinged hero.

    He is much beloved of far left and far right supporters and those poor conspiracy loons.

    Unfortunately....Mr Paul has the electoral success of Kermit the Frog and has a range of policies that are as realistic as his levels of actual support.

    Libertarianism is just odd and for the odd.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 42.

    Glad to see that the right wing makes sense as always...

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 41.

    36. LUFC_FR

    "Meanwhile that bogus passport, dispite the news blackout, will not go away..."

    Lets say the passport was bogus, which seems unlikely in the extreme. Why does it matter? What difference does it actually make?

    The whole passport thing is just (very) thinly disguised racism.

  • rate this
    -7

    Comment number 40.

    @11.pete clack,
    I agree with you that Mr. Santorum is a decent man who cares about the disabled but I think Mr. Romney is, too.We respect religious freedom in America& it's perfectly OK for Catholics,Jews,Mormons,etc to run for office.
    .

  • rate this
    -11

    Comment number 39.

    We are all for Obama, and it is now likely that he will win, being left wing and supported by the neutral BBC All the left have to do now is rubbish Romney, not hard as he is not very popular with grass roots Republicans - all together - the right wing loonies. Yes. Well trained Beebies.Remember how we did Palin? Try this lefties: Romney tied his dog to the roof of his car, and it was very cruel

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 38.

    This man makes more sense than the lot of them...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4d_FvgQ1csE

  • rate this
    -44

    Comment number 37.

    Rick Santorum put up a good fight, but I'm glad to see that Mitt Romney is now the GOP's man to take on Obama.

    He's a moderate Conservative and exactly the sort of politician America needs for its next president.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 36.

    Ron Paul has been the only candidate that offers the change needed in American politics.
    Romney has been chosen to be the no-hoper to give the impression of a contest against Obamba, and the media have had to go along with it.

    Meanwhile that bogus passport, dispite the news blackout, will not go away...

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 35.

    The nation has the finger-pointer (Obama) against the successful businessman. With any luck, the Obama lemmings will try to remember which of Obama's promises were kept, it's a short list. We now have the politician without a past, without accomplishments, a sense of responsibility, without any leadership ability but with two teleprompters running against someone has has actually done something.

  • rate this
    +24

    Comment number 34.

    Clearly an attempt to save face as he had absolutely no chance of winning the candidacy. None of them had a hope in hell of becoming President, the people haven't forgotten the Bush administration and for all Obama's flaws he is at least grounded in something resembling reality, albeit a naive interpretation of it. Santorum winning would have been a disaster. Romney was the only semi-credible one.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 33.

    I have to say I'm surprised about his descision to exit the race now. He should've stayed in it until after the Pennsylvania primary; it shows respect for the voters. Regardless, I wish his family well; perhaps now they can direct more attention to their daughter.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 32.

    24. Whitefall

    Actually there is no such phrase (separation of church & state) in the US constitution."
    -

    True, but the spirit of those words were enshrined in the 1st Amendment.

    It's to stop religious fundamentalists from oppressing minorities under the guise of religion, or from ignoring facts and evidence in favour of biblical quotes, such as the teaching of Evolution in schools.

  • rate this
    +21

    Comment number 31.

    He is as mad as a hatter. It's people like him and Romney that are making it so easy for Barack Obama.

  • rate this
    +35

    Comment number 30.

    Excellent news. It seems Santorum finally got the message that being homophobic, sexist and scientifically-illiterate does not qualify you to be President of the most powerful country in the world, no matter how loudly his fellow asylum inmates - sorry I mean Tea Partiers - scream to the contrary.

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 29.

    Good to see that the yanks can have duller elections than us, that takes some doing !

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 28.

    U.S. Right-wing politics. Wow.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 27.

    It's all about the delegates. If Santorum drops out, Ron Paul can win the nomination. Baring the GOP overtly turning against and publicly blocking Ron Paul which would definitely give the election to Obama. Right wingers will never vote for Romney and Romney offers no alternative whatsoever to Obama, so there is no reason for dems to change. Brokered convention?

    There is no way the right

  • rate this
    -9

    Comment number 26.

    21. Dan
    JUST NOW
    @7 Krokadil

    Yeah your right. Look how many States he won.... such a popular and in touch candidate was old Ron.

    Libertarianism is such a travesty of an ideology that they can take virtually every position they feel like.
    I do admit the far lefties love him.... poor fools.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 25.

    I don't think he was a good candidate but clearly hes been 'gotten to' by the powers that be. A short while ago he said he would go all the way till the convention no matter what. Either way, it's unlikely that a republican candidate could win this time. Its just a matter of bad versus worse.

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 24.

    @16 Razeak said: "He spoke of the constitution and how they have to stick to its rules - separation of church and state, for example"

    Actually there is no such phrase in the US constitution. It was invented/written by an associate supreme court justice named Hugo Black in 1947 in the case Everson vs Board of Education.

 

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