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
    +3

    Comment number 83.

    There is no credible Republican candidate which is good for Obama's re-election campaign

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 82.

    So, all those mouthing has come to naught? anyway, another warmonger off the ballot

  • rate this
    -12

    Comment number 81.

    78. Derick
    1 MINUTE AGO
    Your obviously not understanding

    Your right, I am not understanding.

    "People need Ron Paul" yeah...but they just don't know it I suppose?

    Mate, he has been massacred in this campaign. Not even close.

    He appeals to the already converted conspiracy NWO crowd.

    The rest of us worry about jobs and money. Ron Paul is a joke...libertarian and to old.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 80.

    I wonder if he believes that his daughter's condition is a punishment from God...

  • rate this
    -25

    Comment number 79.

    You know, Mr. Santorum, tho' not my candidate of choice, is a practising Catholic.The moral views he holds,possibly w/the exception of military intervention, are based on his Faith.So you're free to attack his core values but in doing so you're also attacking all Catholics who practise their Faith.He's not inventing this stuff on his own,but is beyond clumsy in how he says it.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 78.

    Your obviously not understanding why the youth rally towards Ron Paul, there sick of the same old same, Ron Paul is bringing something back to everyone lost a long time ago after JFK. People don't want to live in big brother anymore. They don't wan't to be living under law's that are passed and manipulated and kept from the public. The high court's and the fed has to end. People need Ron Paul

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 77.

    I'm disappointed, I quite wanted Santorum to get the ticket; having someone holding such extreme views standing would probably destroy the US right wing. Of course, the fear that he'd fluke his way in is terrifying.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 76.

    Thank goodness. Now the person who lost to the person who lost to Obama in 2008 can finally take on Obama in 2012.

    I personally agreed with Santorum that the US at least needs a clear alternative. He could have had my vote....but not now given two replicas i'm voting for the one I know.

    Watch out everyone there's a landslide coming .....

  • Comment number 75.

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

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 74.

    Owlsoflaughter, this is news because Santorum was 2nd in the GOP nomination race. If you don't want news from the US, then don't click on the BBC US & Canada link.

  • rate this
    +19

    Comment number 73.

    Romney & Obama, between them have easily the biigest campaign funds in US history and its all going to be blown in a 6 month flurry TV adds & political rallies.

    I find it fascinating that in a country struggling into economic recovery that upwards of a Billion$ is about to spent in this way by 2 men who would argue that they represent the ordinary US people.

  • rate this
    +21

    Comment number 72.

    "That makes us Americans... to be a beacon for everybody, a symbol of freedom around the world".

    Do Americans seriously believe this tripe? Or just backward religious extremist nuts?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 71.

    Even in defeat, he is still pompous--makes De Gaulle look humble! I'm surprised this guy was voted senator twice! Now comes the hard part for Romney--getting Santorum's conservatives in line with him. Romney is a good center-right candidate, but if the Republicans are not strongly united, it's curtains for Romney.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 70.

    What is it with some people, not realising that ultimately, you have to be voted for by people with brains ?
    Unfortunately, with a country as big as the US, there seems to be a very large contingent, without a global perspective, they are also the ones with guns, also seemingly voting Teapot too !

  • rate this
    -8

    Comment number 69.

    53. Derick
    1 MINUTE AGO
    Media junkie that loves the police state??!!

    I like it.

    What can I say. Your hero has done appallingly. His enlightened libertarian views must be beyond the public's understanding. Or else the conspiracy junkie vote is not worth chasing....

    56. Owlsoflaughter
    1 MINUTE AGO
    How is this even news in the UK ?

    The BBC love it!!

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 68.

    Right wing politics a dead end that has been explored thousands of times over centuries which only ever leads in one direction. It is the definition of repeating the same mistake over and over again. Those that preach it generally find it difficult to adapt to a changing world and wish for past times.This world needs a pragmatic party that seeks solutions based on facts not ideology.Obama will win

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 67.

    Our promises come lies election routines are bad enough, but this smarmy, showbizzy rubbish is beyond belief. The fewer the better.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 66.

    Rick Sanitorium for president ? Nah.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 65.

    Oh my... Between this and Abu Hamza's extradition, could today get any better??

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 64.

    What does it matter? Whoever is president of the USA and whatever party they belong to, they always act the same way.

    Has Nobel Peace Prize winning Barack Obama closed Guantanamo Bay yet?

    Democracy? Hah!

 

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