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Perry suspends campaign, endorses Gingrich

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Republican presidential candidate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry pauses during a news conference in North Charleston, S.C., Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012, where he announced he is suspending his campaign and endorsing Newt Gingrich.

Two days before the South Carolina primary, Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced he is suspending his campaign for the Republican nomination and endorsing rival Newt Gingrich.

"As a Texan, I've never shied away from a fight," Perry said. He added, though, "I know when it’s time to make a strategic retreat."

A slew of polls in the last day and a half have shown Perry in a distant fourth place in South Carolina, in single digits.

Perry burst out of the gate in August when he announced he was running for president. He jumped out to big leads nationally, but saw a rapid collapse in those same polls after a series of disappointing debate performances.

Notably, in a CNBC debate in Michigan, he forgot three agencies he would cut. "Oops," he said after realizing he could not recall the three. Perry tried to laugh it off, going on the late-night talk shows, but he never recovered, finishing fifth in both Iowa and New Hampshire.

"I have come to the conclusion that there is no viable path forward for me," Perry said before throwing his support to Gingrich.

"I believe Newt is a conservative visionary, who can transform our country," Perry said.

Gingrich today is dealing with an explosive interview conducted by ABC News with Gingrich's ex-wife, Marianne, who claimed Gingrich wanted an "open marrage." Perry seemed to allude to what many on the trail and in ads have referred to as that "baggage."

"Newt is not perfect," Perry said, "but who among us is. There is forgiveness for those who seek God. I believe in the power of redemption. ... He has the heart of a conservative reformer."

Perry concluded, "This I know, I'm not done fighting for the cause of conservativism. As a matter of fact, I have just begun to fight."