(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.
Good riddance to garbage! See ya Newtie! Good luck in your future endeavors because you'll never be POTUS! Yay!
Newt see in the MOON COLONY. Don't forget to bring CALLISTA!!!
Good riddance to the Moon Monster! Thank goodness you'll never sit in the Oval Office as President! Neither will Willard the tax evader!
he had no business running in the first place
i'm glad that yer gone you rascal you
i'm glad that yer gone you rascl you
insulted everybody with yer filth, now ya owe 4 mill
beggin romney to pay it, yer just a fat alley rat
i'm glad that yer gone you rascal you
Newt Gingrich is a skidmark on the BVDs of the USA! His principal traits are egregious arrogance, self-importance, and profound ethical & moral bankruptcy.
He has proven himself unworthy of holding public office, and just needs to ignored and to disappear!
I respect Newt's decision to withdraw from the race. I honestly hope that Newt along with Limbaugh can go from being the most hated of men to some sort of human dignity in the future.
Gingrich was running for president? Really? I think he needs a new hobby.
Alas, the little clown car has only a driver. And a dog on the roof.
Congratulations Newt, now you can settle the moon. Newt, we will send up you to the moon, first, by yourself, as the first scout to let us know how it is to breathe moon air. Good luck Newt.
SHOOT! And I really DESPERATELY wanted to be one of those 14,000 people on the moonbase, so that it would be a state (even though a state needs 30,000 people, under the constitution). Oh well, better be, RON PAUL! I am amazed they even mentioned him. When they wrote about Santorum dropping out, they wrote one sentence about Paul... Unbelieveable.
The GOP field, since Paul has been ignored, is ridiculous. Romney has NO chance. It's going to be the biggest landslide since Reagan in '84, possibly greater, and that's with Obama being as horrible as he is. Oh, well. Better just except defeat. Obama 2012... (I will now go boil my hands for having ever written such a horrid thing.)
That was one half hearted endorsement.
Newt is such a loser. First his Think Tank goes bust, then his campaign. Good thing he never got to lead this country!
As long as you're going, could you tell us how to get that $2.50 a gallon gas? We could really use it.....
So no moon base and orbital solar laser defense system today huh?
We had to elect Obama, after the horrible, awful Bush. [The GOP should apologize for Bush. Really.] But at this point, it’s clear that Obama is just our “rebound” president. He’s better than Bush, but not really that great. He has no economic plan other than “Steal from the Rich”, and when left to his own devices, he just enacts silly health care plans. This time, let’s try Romney, who is a very good businessman. He specializes in rescuing failing businesses, and is our best chance to turn around our ailing economy. If he fails us, we can pick someone else next time. There just isn’t any better choice right now.
I didn't think he was ever going to come to his senses. Politicans count on voters to have short memories, but not in this case.
I figured that something was up when Jimmy Kimmel's jokes about Newt fell flat the other night.
I wonder how much money he walked away from this making ? These guys never spend their own money and you know the reason he didn’t suspend it earlier was because of money. So how much did he make ? Money is the only reason any of these guys do anything. Money and power, once you have one the other is soon to follow. Whatever happened to public servant ? First off you have to be rich to run for the office and even if you lose you still have all your own money.
Newt you'll come out ahead in the end, Mitt's gonna fall harder as he's losing to the big O
Don't let the door hit you in the fanny on the way out. Buh-bye, Newt!
So the Republicans are going to settle on an east coast, elite, millionaire from an aristocratic family? What is his experience that will make him a successful Conservative President?
1. He fires people, lays off employees, and outsources jobs while pocketing the pension funds of those same employees.
2. He is comfortable in an upper class setting. After all, America IS the upper class, isn't it? The little people, like you and I, are not really very important. People of Romney's class and background see us as livestock that can understand English.
3. He does not care if Americans suffer. He has made lots of them suffer so far in his life. He's made of tough stuff. No weepy compassion will ever cloud his judgment.
4. He knows how to destroy corporations and sell off their assets. He could use those skills to destroy the federal government, a stated goal of Conservatism
5. After the Romney Administration is over in 2016 or 2018, Conservatives will say, "Hey, you can't blame us for the disastrous Romney Administration. He wasn't a TRUE Conservative. What we need is a TRUE Conservative like Ron Paul or Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum … or maybe Senator Palin."
About time he droped out. Now mabey he will go off into the moon base never to be seen again.
Well, another one bites the dust! If I was Newt I'd stick it to the GOP! They forced him out and now the debt comes due Vote Obama 2012!
..."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."
Sounds like something he stole off Sour Palin's twitter page!!
geeeze Newt... we really hate to see you...go!