Newt Gingrich suspends his campaign

Newt Gingrich formally concluded his presidential campaign today, in a lengthy speech that included thanks to former rivals Rick Perry and Herman Cain, who joined the Gingrich team after suspending their own bids. 

“Today I am suspending the campaign, but suspending the campaign does not mean suspending citizenship,” said Gingrich, who pledged to remain active as a critic of President Obama, a supporter of the Republican presidential effort, and an advocate for issues such as religious liberty, a balanced budget, American energy independence… and, yes, a lunar colony, which he described as part of a “great adventure” into space exploration that he hoped his children would be able to take.

Although he has said he will soon endorse Mitt Romney at a joint appearance, Gingrich today slipped in a few more barbs about his rival’s financial advantages and aggressive campaign style.  He confirmed that he has no trouble choosing between Romney and “the most radical leftist President in American history.”

Gingrich described his presidential race as “a truly wild ride” that carried him across “an amazing year.”  He actually spent most of his Wednesday speech expounding on his themes of American exceptionalism, the importance of liberty, and the power of innovation.  “With every great challenge, Americans have reinvented themselves and their country,” he declared.  “The 21st century will be the third century of American innovation and freedom.”

Mitt Romney responded by saying, “Newt Gingrich has brought creativity and intellectual vitality to American political life.  During the course of this campaign, Newt demonstrated both eloquence and fearlessness in advancing conservative ideas.  Although he long ago created an enduring place for himself in American history, I am confident that he will continue to make important contributions to our party and to the life of the nation.”