Political Editor Ken Rudin: Edwards, Giuliani Out
Slate's John Dickerson: Who Benefits?
Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination on Wednesday, a day after his dismal showing in the Florida Democratic primary.
"With our convictions and a little backbone we will take back the White House in November," said Edwards, ending his second campaign in a hurricane-ravaged section of New Orleans where he began it more than a year ago.
Edwards said his rivals Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama had both pledged that "they will make ending poverty central to their campaign for the presidency."
"This is the cause of my life and I now have their commitment to engage in this cause," he said before a small group of supporters.
He did not endorse either Clinton or Obama.
Obama released a statement after Edward's announcement, praising his commitment to the voiceless and the struggling. "At a time when our politics is too focused on who's up and who's down, he made a nation focus again on who matters – the New Orleans child without a home, the West Virginia miner without a job, the families who live in that other America that is not seen or heard or talked about by our leaders in Washington."
Edwards ran a populist campaign, constantly highlighting what he saw as the country's growing class inequality. But he failed to beat either Obama or Clinton in any of the 2008 presidential races, losing in New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina.
In Florida, Clinton garnered 50 percent of the vote, while Obama racked up 33 percent and Edwards mustered only 14 percent. The Florida vote did not bring with it any delegates, however. The Democratic National Committee stripped that state of its delegates for moving its primary up.
Arizona Sen. John McCain won Florida's Republican contest, capturing the state's 57 delegates in the winner-take-all contest.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is expected to drop out of the race and throw his support behind McCain, as the Arizona senator's campaign builds momentum going into next week's Super Tuesday contests.
Despite his second-place finish on Tuesday, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney told supporters he will stay in the race, saying America needs someone who has had a job in the real economy.
Giuliani finished a distant third and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee finished fourth.