Posted: January 30, 2008 6:40 PM
Giuliani Officially Drops Out, Endorses McCain
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani ended his presidential bid Wednesday and endorsed his Republican rival Sen. John McCain after a disappointing third-place finish in Florida’s Republican primary.
Giuliani, who was mayor during the Sept. 11 terrorist attack and once held a lead in the national GOP polls, made the announcement just hours before a scheduled debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.
“I am very proud to endorse my friend and fellow Republican — a hero — John McCain of Arizona for president of the United States of America. God bless you, John,” Giuliani said.
“I can rest very assured that this is a man prepared to be president of the United States at a time of great peril…We share a similar vision for the future of our party…We both believe that America must stay on the offense on the terrorists’ war on us.”
McCain appeared alongside Giuliani for the announcement and said he was “deeply honored.”
Rumors that Giuliani would drop out and endorse McCain began circulating before he took the stage to address supporters on Tuesday night in Florida. Giuliani thanked the crowd for their support and praised his rivals but fell short of dropping out. “I believe our party will be stronger as a result of the competition we’re going through. But win or lose, our work is not done.”
“Elections are about a lot more than just candidates.” Giuliani continued. “Elections are about fighting for a cause larger than ourselves. They’re about identifying the great challenges of our time and proposing new solutions. Most of all, they are about handing our nation to the next generation better than it was handed to us. This is our opportunity and this is our obligation as American citizens.”
In McCain’s Florida victory speech, he thanked his “dear, dear friend Rudy Giuliani, who invested his heart and soul in this primary and who conducted himself with all the qualities of the exceptional American leader he truly is.”
Giuliani’s long-term strategy - with hopes pinned on a win in Florida - unraveled as his rivals gained momentum from their early wins. His strong lead in the national polls continued to slip as McCain, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Massachusetts Gov. MItt Romney gained steam.
In his speech endorsing McCain, Giuliani said he would campaign with McCain “anyplace where I am helpful.”