(CNN) – Newt Gingrich announced the suspension of his presidential campaign Wednesday in Virginia, a little less than a year after the former House speaker officially launched his White House bid.
"Today I am suspending the campaign but suspending the campaign does not mean suspending citizenship. Callista and I are committed to being active citizens," Gingrich said at an event in Arlington. "Now we're going to put down the roles of candidate and candidate's spouse and take up the role of active citizens."
Gingrich thanked his supporters, chronicled his life in public service, vowed to continue fighting for his policy ideas and expressed support for presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
News of his impending departure from the race first broke last week amid falling poll numbers, significant campaign debt, disappointing fundraising figures and a string of electoral losses.
The Gingrich and Romney campaigns have spoken consistently since Gingrich signaled he would pull out of the race this week.
In his speech Wednesday, Gingrich stressed the importance of defeating President Barack Obama in the November general election.
"I'm often asked if Romney is conservative enough and my answer is simple, 'compared to Barack Obama?' You know this is not a choice between Mitt Romney and Ronald Reagan, this is a choice between Mitt Romney and the most radical leftist president in American history."
Gingrich's spokesman R.C. Hammond said the former Georgia representative would spend most of the summer and fall on the campaign trail stumping for candidates.
Gingrich was left for political dead last year after his top campaign advisers quit but experienced a resurgence in late 2011, due in part to a Republican electorate unsure about Romney, the GOP frontrunner.
However, he failed to win early election benchmarks, only capturing two early voting states, his native Georgia and South Carolina. Gingrich said he will "feel slightly guilty" every time he goes through South Carolina for breaking the state's tradition of voting for the eventual Republican presidential nominee since 1980.
Despite a string of election losses and armed with only 141 delegates, Gingrich continually vowed to stay in the race until the August convention in an effort to elevate his self-described "big ideas," including his American energy plan and broad education reforms.
On Wednesday, he vowed to continue working on behalf of "American exceptionalism" and said he and his wife would continue to campaign on behalf of American energy independence and health care reform while promoting mental health awareness and a country that is capable of combating global threats.
"With every great challenge, Americans have reinvented themselves and their country," Gingrich said. "Callista and I pledge to work with you and with every American who wants to create that better future."
His speech grew personal when he talked about his grandchildren, Maggie and Robert, who joined him on stage and often appeared with him at campaign events. He became emotional when he mentioned them, pausing for a few seconds before thanking them for being the “two best debate coaches.”
In a statement released Wednesday, Romney said Gingrich demonstrated "eloquence and fearlessness in advancing conservative ideas" throughout his campaign.
"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," Romney said. "Ann and I are proud to call Newt and Callista friends and we look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead as we fight to restore America's promise."
Another former opponent, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, also responded to the news of Gingrich's decision, saying the former speaker ran a "spirited campaign."
"As he exits the race for the Republican nomination, I'd like to acknowledge my former colleague in the House Newt Gingrich for running a spirited campaign. In particular, I want to thank the former Speaker for echoing my calls for monetary policy reform including a full audit of the Federal Reserve, steps that will bring America closer to lasting economic prosperity for middle-class Americans who bear the brunt of the dangerous and unjust inflation tax," Paul, who remains in the race, said in a statement.
Also in a statement, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus congratulated Gingrich on his presidential run.
"Speaker Gingrich has been a tireless leader in our party for decades, and I know he will continue to be an outspoken advocate for conservative policies and Republican principles–not only in this election, but also for years to come," Priebus said.
Read more: Gingrich's 2012 campaign leaves him with mixed legacy
– CNN's Mark Preston, Kevin Bohn, Gabriella Schwarz and Shawna Shepherd contributed to this report.
Newt gingrich. Wow! Wow! Wow!
Ron Paul 1864!!!!
Hey CNN, there's this guy by the name of Ron Paul who is rumored to still be in the race. You may want to investigate and do some honest reporting.
I feel sorry for the late night comics. With Newt in the race, the jokes literally wrote themselves.
-Very sad that he felt a need to deliver his own LLLOOONNNGGG eulogy. But also consistent with his pathological and myopic self-absorption. And proof that worthless people eventually fade away
– We won't miss you, petty, spiteful, egotistic little man
-He failed as Speaker of the House, he failed as a husband twice, and he failed as a presidential candidate. He did, however, succeed in tricking lots of rich people into giving him money
-The only thing better than his leaving is the fact he milked some right wing sugar daddy for millions
Wow, it's unbelievable that a man so despite even thought about running and hoped for public support. Every word he got above was deserved, every words, so accurately describing him. People now can confirm how delusional and self-absorbed he is.
Newt thinks himself a Churchill. Most people think he is an anthill. Please go away Newt. Please.
We the people no longer have to watch and pay for secret service protection for these HYPOCRITE.
Family value my you know what when it comes to this adulterer
I wonder if Ron Paul will get most of his delegates, like he did with Santorum's. I hope Ron Paul takes this all the way to the convention and they have to settle it there. If I were Paul I'd press the issue until I had a guaranteed seat as head of the Federal reserve.
Wait wait wait, Newt did an entire speech without using his go-to negative phrases? "Socialism, Communism, Marxism" I love how Republicans use those words without understanding what they even mean. Income tax is socialist yet you never hear Republicans say we should do away with that as is Medicaid and Medicare. Republicans, STOP being so freaking negative and maybe people will start respecting you more. No one wants to be around that guy at the party who's always being a debby-downer and that's exactly what the republican party is now. Negative, negative, negative. Instead of talking about how the democrats are screwing up the country, talk about how you propose to "fix it". If you offer no real plans for "fixing" the country then just stop talking.
there should b an age limit on how old u have to b to run for president. 35 to 70 max!
The last one to know Newt left the race? Newt. He can still get plenty of gigs–Lots of Tea Party Birthers running around in their shiny tin foil hats.
the typical gingrich sentence: a noun, a verb and ronald reagan
All he did was play with the process, like he always does.
They should make a fantasy/comedy movie about Ron Paul fumbling around in the dark for that switch that turns the Government off.
Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, GET OUT YOU FAT SACK OF GARBAGE.
After G.W. bush, I'll never trust a Republican ever again.
Maybe if his campaign had more substance and wasn't entirely devoted to just "defeating Obama by any means necessary", he might have done better.
Thanks Newt.............for letting us know the inside ON WILLARD MITTHOUSE ROMNEY.
Maybe if his campaign had more substance and wasn't entirely devoted to just defeating Mr. O by any means necessary, he might have done better.
He calls Barack Obama the "most radical leftist president in American history." Hyperbole much, Newt? Give me a break. As anyone slightly left of center, and they will tell you that Obama has caved on most issues...thus bringing him right of center. The health care bill is so far to the right of what liberals wanted, it's not even funny. He caved to the right on the Bush tax cuts, when he very easily could have held his ground.
I would say he's the most radically CENTRIC president in history.
Newt, it's a shame we won't get to hear your delusional thoughts anymore. They were as entertaining as they were insane.
Its funny how Mittens, when you get on his bad side, is quite effective at destroying his opponets. I think what you saw with how Willard deposed ole' Newty is only the beginning to what the barrage Obama will be facing. Mittens may be Mr. Roboto, but no one should underestimate how good a canidate he actually is, he has been running for prez. what seems like 10 years (in that time he has bound to learn from his own mistakes and the mistakes of other canidates such as McCain, Palin, Newt, and Santorum)
After calling him a liar and a fraud, Newt now loves him like if Mitt were his son. Newt, all you proved is what a lying sack of manure all Republicans are. Now every Republican loves Mitt. Bunch of hypocrites. Now go back to your wives and mistresses and watch while Mitt play a game of Hiding Your Money. How anybody can find Mitt to be an honest man when his actions speak louder than his words...HIDING MONEY FROM HIS OWN GOVERNMENT. But get this...IT'S THE VERY SAME GOVERNMENT HE WANTS TO BE IN CHARGE OF. If this isn't brass ones, I don't know what is.
Hey Newt....I got Tiffany's on the line here..... Something about an expired credit...Newt? Newt?
Why mention Ron Paul? He himself has said he can't win but is just staying it to keep talking about his italking points
Yes, he does have an enduring place in American History... as Speaker of the House who was forced to resign in disgrace.