Will Fred Thompson stay in the presidential race? (Photo Credit: AP)
(CNN) - After a weak showing in the South Carolina primary, Fred Thompson gave a wistful speech to supporters, telling them "we'll always stand strong together."
Thompson had staked his campaign on a strong finish in the Republican primary here.
While he remains in the race, two sources told CNN that "it was abundantly evident to all of us" that the bar was a win or a very competitive second place in South Carolina to continue to be viable in the GOP presidential race.
Thompson has no public schedule Sunday, and is planning to consult with campaign manager Bill Lacy and other top advisers about the next move.
"We are not blind to the obvious," said one senior campaign adviser.
But, given the muddled course of the Republican race so far, both aides said Thompson and his advisers wanted to watch the results come in tonight before making a final decision.
Related video: Watch Thompson's S.C. concession speech
–CNN's John King, Candy Crowley, and Gloria Borger contributed to this report
so long fred...........see you in the footnotes
Fred Thompson has never had even half the chance of being pResident that John Edwards has and yet he gets lots of time this evening and others and Edwards gets little or no coverage ever.
He was never in it.
Fred Thompson has no chance of winning the Republican Nomination this year and his ever so faint hopes of winning it rested on a strong finish or victory in South Carolina. That hasn't happened and look what's happened. He's still in the race. Hard to believe that people support this guy and believed he was the "next" Ronald Reagan.
Fred Thompson's reflective S.C. Primary pronouncement was imbeded with his strongest, most issue-focused remarks to date but unfortunately delivered at the virtual end of the trail instead at the many hitching posts along the route. Too much too late!
I don't know why Fred Thompson is even in the race.
I hope he will endorse either McCain or Ron Paul.
i am a fred supporter but its time to go fred and support Romney
Fred's supporters are NOT brainwashed by leftist, socialist, mud slinging, mind owning liberal mainstream media – we are people of substance who are thinkers with integrity who don't buckle to populist thinking. Edwards is a socialist ambulance chaser and has so little depth that even his former running mate wouldn't endorse!
Fred Thompson is a good candidate not much effort though.
Economy Romney is the man because I need a job.
McCain says your jobs are not coming back, bye bye McCain.
Huckabee I need to WORK again not be Born again.
Hillary thinks we owe her a crown we owe her nothing.
Hillary's supporters are themost angry bunch I have ever seen.
Rudy did nothing to prevent the terror attacks.
I am a Fred Thompson supporter. If he stays I will continue to support him. He is the best candidate out there. Unfortunately, I think he got into the race too late. But I will back him until the end. After he is gone, not sure who I will support, but I know it will not be Romney or Ron Paul. Both are way too liberal for my taste. But then again so is McCain and Huckabee.
Thompson was in the race because the National Right to Life Committee wanted to back someone. They couldn't trust Romney, hate McCain because of McCain-Feingold, and didn't think Huckabee could win.
With only 43% of the polls reporting, how can you possibly say that Thompson has had a weak showing?? He's pushing 20% with a strong third so far...
Fred could return to the Senate...as Romney's Veep!
Fred Thompson would make a decent candidate for President . . . if we were casting for an action movie, based on a Tom Clancy novel.
Bye, Fred. Have a glass of prune juice on me.
Congratualtions Fred for killing Huckabee and making it possible for McCain to win. Hope you're happy!!!
fred should support romney and be his running mate as vice president.
Gee, Fred, I guess you should have got out there and campaigned after all.
The really cool part about the Thompson campaign (if one wishes to characterize it as such) is that, not only is he humiliating himself during this interminable primary process, he may also be destroying his career path (such as it is) as an “actor” right at the same time. I mean..if he chooses to go back into “acting”, who’s going to take him seriously now? This is some good comedy.
All you haters need to look at Fred's positions and white papers. Then you'll see who is the true conservative on every issue; and isn't that what the Republican party's platform is supposed to be based on, principles?
Fred who?...is staying in the race? Don't you have to be IN the race to STAY in the race? Must be the tortoise and the hare thing!!
Economy Romney was the big Winner Today.
Mcain = War
Huckabee = Born Again.
I need a job and to work again not be born again.
Hillary is just and angry person why are all her supports so Angry.
Thompson doesn't seem to have the drive.
America is warming up to Economy Romney.
If Fred goes then it will mean that there are no more real Conservatives in the race.
Rudy, McCain, Romney, and even Huckabee to some extent are moderates and Ron Paul is a Libertarian.
It doesnt look like Fred has much of chance unfortunately which means we will have to choose the lesser of two evils in November which means it will likely be McCain or Romney who is our next President, Im not looking forward to either possibility.
Give it up, Fred. You never acted like you were trying anyway. Pretty pathetic effort all around.................
Fred is a good man and should be the VP candidate. Every ounce of energy needs to be mustered to defeat Hillary in the fall. I'm with the yahoo group the Neo-Swashbucklers who have vowed to sail off to the Caribbean if Hillary is elected. We actually wish Fred would stay in the race because this baby might be headed for a brokered convention.