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
    +2

    Comment number 63.

    Ron Paul? Give me a break!

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 62.

    Oh boy, they are going to have a Mormon, tax avoiding president in the USA. Or maybe not. My conservative friends are beginning to panic as they realise that they are likely to have four more years of Barak Obama.

    So, no more coffee or Coca Cola.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 61.

    Good riddance - he can take his biggoted ignorant opinions with him. Call me crazy but i don't want the President to base his policy decisions on a book about talking snakes and apples of knowledge. Now the book of Mormon, thats something i can work with.

    How did it come to this ...

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 60.

    British politics is rancid,american politics even more beyond saving.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 59.

    I am just happy that the field is down to one and now President Obama can direct his campaign against the candidate who is out of touch with real American people who pay mortgages and pray they can put their sons &/or daughters thru college / pay for Heath Insurance without going bankrupt and not have their daughters human rights taken away
    The GOP have gone so far right they are out of the field!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 58.

    One bozo down, three left to exit, stage right.

    I sure hope our European friends do not think that this is the best that we have to offer. Truly it is not...

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 57.

    This man was never fit to govern a small island, never mind the USA. He was prone to exaggeration and one never got the impression that he disliked something just a little bit. He frequently resorted to desperate hyperbole in order to hammer home his ideological views and I think that scared people off in the end.

  • rate this
    -13

    Comment number 56.

    How is this even news in the UK ?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 55.

    Others are saying what I'm thinking - The western world's better off without Santorum - He's a political player, looking to line his pockets, and 'purify' America into a nation of White Christians.

    G'bye Rick, there's no place here in the future for the likes of you.

  • rate this
    +20

    Comment number 54.

    Glad to see the back of a homophobic candidate.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 53.

    Krok, Why don't you try and understand what your liberty's are for and unless your one of the Media Junkie that loves a police state, and needs a big government to help aid his well being. The fact is more soldiers' supported Ron Paul through his campaign than Obama. Ron Paul does care, and know body question's the Doctor.

  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 52.

    Ron Paul is still in this race. He clearly has the grassroots support otherwise he wouldn't have been able to afford to get this far. How can anyone say he is not fit for governement. Yet Obama with his crony capitalism and war mongering is fit for governement? Please wake up and vote Ron Paul!

  • Comment number 51.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +21

    Comment number 50.

    Mr Santorum is the exact opposite of a "decent man" despite what the usual homophobic rabble here are claiming. At a rally, he told two loving, happy, gay men that they did not deserve the same rights as other human beings because they did not benefit society.

    I posit that Santorum and all who think like him do not benefit society, and should be expelled from it immediately. Good riddance.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 49.

    I am not sure if Santorum's religious superstition, as conservative Christian with 7 children (wow!), at least one with "rare" genetic disorder, or eminent defeat or lack of money convinced him to drop out. I am sure Newt does not believe in religion much- a habitual marriage vow breaker. Ron is there for entertainment.
    Lets see how corporate shrewdness of Romney match ability & honesty of Obama.

  • rate this
    +25

    Comment number 48.

    Took the Republicans a long time to recognise him for what he is...even less talented than Geroge bush.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 47.

    At least he won't be out of work. I understand that the Vatican has offered him a job as the new Grand Inquistor.

  • rate this
    +19

    Comment number 46.

    Well this is great news. A politician who is prepared to try to circumvent the constitution to ram his religion down the throats of children by pretending it is science (he was instrumental in trying to make so-called Intelligent design teachable) is not fit to be president.

    Mind you, I'm not sure any of the others are fit, either.

  • rate this
    +32

    Comment number 45.

    He opposes Obama's health reforms, he's a director of a health service company so allegedly has a vested interest, and amazingly at a recent news conference he stated that Britain's creation of the NHS is what lost us the Empire, so I think the USA is better off without him!

  • Comment number 44.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

 

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