Carl Cameron of Fox News is reporting that Fred Thompson is withdrawing from the presidential race. Shortly following that, his campaign sent out this statement:
Statement from Sen. Fred Thompson
McLean, VA – Senator Fred Thompson today issued the following statement about his campaign for President:
“Today I have withdrawn my candidacy for President of the United States. I hope that my country and my party have benefited from our having made this effort. Jeri and I will always be grateful for the encouragement and friendship of so many wonderful people.”
After learning yesterday that he withdrew from Thursday’s Republican debate, it was pretty clear what his next move would be. It seemed like he wasn’t all that interested in running to begin with. According to a Washington Post article, he wasn’t the most energetic campaigner:
“His rivals would do more in a day than Fred would do in a month,” said one disaffected Thompson insider. “He created the perception, fairly or not, that he was just going through the motions.”
At this time, we don’t know if he will endorse another candidate, and he may not since the Examiner reports that he may position himself as a Vice Presidential candidate. Now, who will his supporters shift their allegiance to? I’m guessing they’ll move to support Mitt.
Update: Mitt Romney is the first GOP presidential candidate to respond to Fred’s leaving race. The video from Fox was garbled terribly, but Mitt had very nice things to say about Fred, including, if I heard it correctly, that he would make a great running mate for him or any of the candidates.
Update II: Will Huckabee benefit the most?
Update III: Mitt Romney’s statement on Fred Thompson:
“Throughout this campaign, Fred Thompson brought a laudable focus to the challenges confronting our country and the solutions necessary to meet them. He stood for strong conservative ideas and believed strongly in the need to keep our conservative coalition together. Ann and I would like to extend our best wishes to Fred, Jeri and their family and congratulate them on their efforts during this campaign.”