Associated Press - January 22, 2008 3:33 PM ET
NAPLES, Fla. (AP) - Fred Thompson is out.
The former Tennessee senator has quit the Republican presidential race after never breaking past a third-place finish in the early primary and caucus states.
In a statement, Thompson says he hopes America and the Republican party benefitted from his presidential aspirations.
Finishing third in South Carolina appears to have been the final nail in his coffin. The actor-politician had said he needed a win in the first southern primary.
Thompson formally announced his bid in early September, but his candidacy was rocky from the get-go. His easy-going style translated into a light campaign schedule that raised questions about whether he really wanted to be president.
Thompson departs the most wide open Republican race in half a century -- so far, six states have voted with three different winners.
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