Rick Perry Ends His Presidential Campaign, Endorses Newt Gingrich
Texas governor Rick Perry has announced he is dropping out of the race to become the Republican Party's nominee for president of the United States.
Speaking at a press conference in South Carolina on Thursday, Perry said he would instead throw his support behind former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich.
"What's broken in America is not our people, it's our politics. What we need in Washington is a place that is humbler, with a federal government that is smaller so our people can live freer," said the 61-year-old.
"This campaign has never been about the candidates. I ran for president because I love America, I love our people, I love our freedom, as a matter of fact this mission is greater than any one man."
Giving his endorsement to Gingrich, Perry said that he never believed the "cause of conservatism" was embodied by one individual.
"We need bold conservative leadership that will take on entrenched interests," he said, adding: "I believe Newt is a conservative visionary who can transform our country."
In a reference to an interview with Gingrich's ex-wife scheduled to be aired on ABC on Thursday night, in which she claims the former congressman wanted an "open marriage", Perry said: "Newt is not perfect, but who among us is? There is forgiveness for those who seek God."
"I believe in the power of redemption, for it is a central tenant of my Christian faith," he added.
Perry entered the race last August to great fanfare as conservative Republicans sought an alternative to front runner Mitt Romney. He briefly led the polls, but a series of gaffes - forgetting one of the three federal agencies he would abolish during a live televised debate - saw his campaign falter and ultimately fail.
Perry had been widely expected to drop out of the nomination race after coming a disappointing fifth place in the Iowa Caucuses, however he held off withdrawing hoping for a surge. It never came.
The suspension of his campaign sees the Republican field tightening, with the seemingly moderate Romney the front-runner, followed by social-conservative former senator Rick Santorum and libertarian Ron Paul.
At the CNBC debate on November 9, Perry <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/10/rick-perry-oops-video_n_1085336.html" target="_hplink">famously forgot</a> one of the government agencies he would eliminate if elected: <blockquote>"It's three government agencies when I get there that are gone: Commerce, Education and the um, what's the third one there. Let's see," Perry said. He turned to Texas Rep. Ron Paul, looking for some help, but got nothing but a remark from Paul that he would eliminate five agencies. "Oh five," Perry said. "So Commerce, Education, and, uh, the uh, um, um." "EPA?" offered former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. "EPA, there ya go," Perry said as the room exploded in laughter. CNBC moderator John Harwood honed in and pressed Perry: "Seriously? Is EPA the one you were talking about?" "No sir. No sir. We were talking about the, um, agencies of government," Perry said. "The EPA needs to be rebuilt." "But you can't name the third one?" Harwood persisted. "The third agency of government," Perry said. "I would do away with the education, the um, Commerce, and let's see. I can't think of the third one. I can't. Sorry. Oops."</blockquote>
Voting Age Flub
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/29/rick-perry-gets-voting-ag_n_1119126.html" target="_hplink">During a campaign stop</a> at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, Perry got both the voting age and the date of the 2012 presidential election wrong. "Those of you that will be 21 by November the 12th, I ask for your support and your vote," he said to the students. The legal voting age has been 18 since the 26th Amendment was adopted in 1971. The general election is scheduled for November 6, 2012.
New Hampshire... Caucus?
During a November <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/30/rick-perry-new-hampshire-caucus_n_1120304.html" target="_hplink">interview </a>with Fox News, Perry mistakenly referred to the New Hampshire "caucuses." When asked about the emergence of front runners Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, Perry responded, "Americans haven't decided yet at all who they want to lead the Republican nomination, and we're going to be talking about that and we're going to be talking about it in harsh and strong terms over the course of the next four to five weeks as we get ready for those New Hampshire caucuses." New Hampshire holds primaries, not caucuses.
Minimum Age To Run For President
While speaking to Catcher Jones, a seven-year-old from Greenville, South Carolina in December, Perry flubbed the minimum age to run for president. "I'm glad you're not 21," Perry told Jones, who was wearing a t-shirt that said "Future President: Accepting Campaign Donations Now." Perry realized his mistake and added, "Or actually 35."
War With Iran
After a woman in South Carolina asked Perry what he thought about current United States military operations, Perry mistakenly started talking about the wars in Afghanistan and Iran. When an audience member alerted Perry to his error, he joked that his comment "will be on the front page."
Following a debate in New Hampshire, Perry met with fraternity brothers at Dartmouth College. When someone asked him about the issue of states' rights, Perry said that one of the "reasons we fought the revolution in the 16th century was to get away from that kind of onerous crown." The Revolutionary War occurred in the 18th century.
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=OMK7La2721Y" target="_hplink">In an interview</a> with CNN last year, Perry got stuck in a time warp. "Washington has abused the Constitution. You go back to the, a decade ago, with Woodrow Wilson..." Wilson was president from 1913 to 1921.
Bizarre Campaign Speech
In October, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/29/video-rick-perrys-unusual-speech-performance_n_1065571.html" target="_hplink">an unusual performance</a> at a speech in Manchester led many to question the candidate's sobriety. Perry later made a statement to dispel rumors that he was drinking or using painkillers during the speech.
Bush Was Good At "Defending Us From Freedom"
During an interview with the <em>Today Show</em> last November, Perry told host Meredith Viera that "Bush did an incredible job, in the presidency, defending us from freedom."
While speaking with the editorial board of the <em>Des Moines Register</em>, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/09/rick-perry-gaffe-sonia-sotomayor_n_1139541.html?1323463939" target="_hplink">Perry struggled</a> to remember Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's name: <blockquote>"Do you really think he [President Barack Obama] is waging a war on religion?" asked an editorial board member, referring to Perry's recent ad pledging to "end Obama's war on religion" and "fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage" as president. "I do because when you see his appointment of two -- from my perspective, inarguably -- activist judges, whether it was," he said, then trailing off for about six seconds trying to recall her name. "Montomayor," he said. Someone on the editorial board said Sotomayor's name. "Sotomayor and [Elena] Kagan, who are both activist judges," he continued.</blockquote>