Rick Perry suspends his campaign, endorses Newt Gingrich

In the state in which he announced his candidacy for president, Texas Gov. Rick Perry withdrew from the race today in South Carolina and endorsed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for president.

Perry said Gingrich is a “conservative visionary who can transform our country.”

“Newt is not perfect, but who among us is,” Perry said, alluding to Newt’s marital infidelities. “There is forgiveness for those who seek God, and I believe in the power of redemption for it is a central tenet of my Christian faith.”

Perry also said that Gingrich had “the courage to tell Washington interests to take a hike.”

Perry said that he, as a Texan, has never shied away from a fight, especially when he considered the cause to be righteous.

Like Sam Houston, Perry said he knows when “it is time to make a strategic retreat” and vowed he would would “remain in the arena of service.”

“I’m not done fighting for the cause of conservatism,” Perry said. “I have just begun to fight.”

Perry said he suspended his campaign because he did not see a viable path forward to gain the nomination and, at a town hall shortly after Perry’s announcement, Gingrich said Perry would work with him on 10th Amendment issues to return power back to the states.

Perry’s endorsement is likely to help Gingrich in his attempt to solidify the conservative movement behind him not only before Saturday’s South Carolina primary but beyond.