(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.
Sure !Rob Paul would make a great president
Sayonara. Make sure you pay your wife all those millions that she's owed as an consultant to your campaign and give the rest to the GOP.
With apologies to Dr. Seuss: The time has come,
The time is now.
Just go, go, go!
I don’t care how. You can go by foot.
You can go by cow.
Newton L. Gingrich,
will you please go now! Newton L. Gingrich I don’t care how. Newton L. Gingrich,
will you please go now? Newton L. Gingrich!
Don’t you know
the time has come,
so GO, GO, GO!
I am sad to see him go. Newt will be an influential voice for conservatives in the years to come. Its too bad that the media has tried its best to slam him, but have given Obama a free pass on bailing out Wall St. instead of Main St. and on continuing failed, leftist policies. Obama is nearly as big a threat to our nation as many of our enemies.
With Newt out, the choice is clear: Romney 2012! God Bless America!!!
Next stop for this guy is Death . What a maggot.
Here's two questions: Who is grumpier, Newt or McCain? Who will die first, Newt or McCain?
Gingrich spent more money on his campaign than what he collected..the difference is in millions!!! Isn't something really wrong with this picture? How can he or GOP suggest they want balanced budget amendment and no more deficits?? Gingrich used to say he balanced the budget and he will do it if elected..How can he do it if he can't run a small campaign controlling costs and balancing his budget?
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."
And he was sincere...
Another numskull comes crashing down ..
I glad he does not owe me ant money. His next stop, Bankruptcy.
What a joke. He was never in it anyway. Can you say delusional. Did he really think that Americans would vote for a guy who was forced to resign from Speaker of the House due to ethics violations. Really? LOL
What a waste
But... but moonbase.... ;.;
Newt hasn't been relevant in a long time. Just listen to all the crap he spewed about Romney during the primary and now he's going to get onboard the Romney team.
Newt, you and your party are the most radical group of politicians that I can ever remember.
President Obama=Forward=4 more!
Suspension is not the same thing as officially bowing out. I'm sure this is a technical term he's using so he can continue to collect money. His campaign apparently has millions of dollars of debt.
Didn't realize that Newt even was in the race. Oh hey good luck Newt, have fun on the moon buddy
He is so blinded by his arrogance that he can't see that his legacy is that of a morally challenged, disgraced politician.
Newt is an embarrassment to America. He is no different from other Republicans. Period
The Only thing Newt Gingrich show the American People Is that another Republican has LIE. What happen to running all the way to AUG. Newt. The Republican said they can balanced the budget , but he couldn't even Balanced the money In his own Campaign. He spend more than he had and even wrote a bad check. It sound like the same thing that President Bush did for eight years. He spend more money than America had ,but he didn't write a bad check, he Just borrow money from China. And that how America got In the mess It In NOW.
Shoot, does this mean we can't have a base on the moon?
Call me crazy, I think Newt Gingrich had some really good ideas about creating jobs, lowering taxes, letting the free-market breath. Too bad he's gone. I'm not %100 sure he would have followed through with his campaign promises, but he did have some good ideas. Now, only one option left...Ron Paul, that is.
This just in...Sun rises in the East and sets in the West. Feel free to run with this news CNN. The guy was toast eons ago. You've got to learn to ignore the unimportant events and anything that Sarah Palin says.
Thank Goodness, his time was over a while ago!
He promised to stay until the convention. Another lie to everyone's face from a politician.
don't you mean blows out?