The following is an excerpt from Newsmax Wires | January 16, 2012 | Newsmax.com |
The former Utah governor coupled his announcement with an appeal to the five remaining contenders to stop attacking one another in television commercials. “At its core, the Republican Party is a party of ideas, but the current toxic form of our political discourse does not help our cause,” he said.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s campaign hailed Huntsman’s withdrawal, saying, “With Governor Huntsman dropping out, we are one step closer to a bold Reagan conservative winning the GOP nomination.”
Huntsman noted that he and former Massachusetts Gov. Romney have had their differences, and he did not respond to questions when asked whether he still believes — as he said while campaigning for last week’s New Hampshire primary — that Romney is out of touch and unelectable.
Huntsman said he was suspending his candidacy, but his endorsement made it clear that was a euphemism. He dropped out less than a week after finishing third in New Hampshire, the state where he had staked his candidacy. While he has campaigned for nearly a week in South Carolina, he lacked the funds for television commercials or other essentials of a modern campaign.
Given Huntsman’s decision to back Romney, his departure seemed unlikely to clarify the overriding question of the Republican campaign, whether conservative voters could or would unify behind Gingrich, Rick Perry, or Rick Santorum to create a strong conservative challenger to Romney.
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