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Jon Huntsman To Withdraw From Race And Endorse Mitt Romney

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Jon Huntsman To Withdraw From Race And Endorse Mitt Romney

Carl Cameron talks to Geraldo about the breaking news that Jon Huntsman will drop out of the race later Monday and endorse Mitt Romney.

The New York Times Reports

Jon M. Huntsman Jr. will announce Monday that he is ending his bid for the Republican presidential nomination and endorsing Mitt Romney, narrowing the field and erasing a challenge to Mr. Romney from the moderate wing of his party.

Mr. Huntsman, who had hoped to use the South Carolina primary this week to revive his flagging candidacy, informed his advisers on Sunday that he was bowing to political reality and would back Mr. Romney, whom he accused a week ago of putting party ahead of country.

Mr. Huntsman, who had struggled to live up to the early expectations of his candidacy, was to deliver a speech Monday morning in Myrtle Beach, where the five remaining major Republican candidates will gather hours later for a debate. His endorsement of Mr. Romney is indication of the party establishment getting behind Mr. Romney and trying to focus the party on defeating President Obama.

“The governor and his family, at this point in the race, decided it was time for Republicans to rally around a candidate who could beat Barack Obama and turn around the economy,” Matt David, Mr. Huntsman’s campaign manager, said in an interview Sunday evening. “That candidate is Gov. Mitt Romney.”

But Mr. Huntsman’s decision was unlikely to have any particular influence where Mr. Romney needs it most, among social and religious conservatives who remain wary of Mr. Romney’s ideological inconsistency. With the withdrawal of Mr. Huntsman, who despite his efforts to portray himself as more conservative than Mr. Romney was often viewed as the moderate in the race, the South Carolina primary is now Mr. Romney against an array of opponents coming at him from the right.

Conventional wisdom has it that this helps Mitt Romney. Ed Morrissey notes:

Huntsman’s core of voters in New Hampshire were Democrats, people who didn’t like the Tea Party, and people who generally approve of Barack Obama’s job performance. Where would these voters have gone in this primary without Huntsman anyway? Perhaps a few might have migrated to Ron Paul, but that’s hard to imagine. Romney will graciously accept the endorsement, but it’s not going to change his position much in the next few states anyway. Romney’s better off with more people in the race, not fewer.

As a side note, after the news broke, Huntsman wiped all his Romney Attack ads off his YouTube account. We captured them all here