January 30, 2008 02:22pm
RUDOLPH Giuliani today signalled the end of his 2008 Republican White House campaign, as he looked set to come a dismal third in the must-win Florida primary.
The former New York mayor did not formally quit the race, but delivered a valedictory address as results from the key nominating showdown flooded in.
“I’m proud that we chose to stay positive and to run a campaign of ideas in an era of personal attacks, negative ads and cynical spin,” Mr Giuliani told supporters in Orlando, Florida.
“You don’t always win, but you can always try to do it right … that’s what the American people deserve, a return to honesty and substance in our political discussion.”
A Time magazine election website reported that Mr Giuliani would travel to California tomorrow to endorse Senator John McCain, who won the Florida primary and is emerging as the Republican front-runner.
Asked about the reports he will bow out and endorse Mr McCain, Mr Giuliani said only: “We’re heading to California, we’re heading to California.”
He spoke at length about his vision for the country, repeatedly referring to his presidential campaign in the past tense and emotionally dedicating it to the victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks.
“We’ll stay involved and together we’ll make sure that we do everything we can to hand our nation off to the next generation better than it was handed to us,” Mr Giuliani said.
“The responsibility of leadership doesn’t end with a single campaign,” he said.
Mr McCain won a breakthrough triumph in the Florida primary, edging past former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and seizing precious campaign momentum for next week’s string of contests across more than 20 states.
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee trailed but told supporters he would forge on.
The victory solidified Mr McCain’s status as the front-runner for the nomination, his candidacy having come full circle in little more than a year.
“It shows one thing. I’m the conservative leader who can unite the party,” the Arizona senator said.
“It’s a very significant boost but I think we’ve got a tough week ahead and a lot of states to come.”
The victory was worth 57 national convention delegates for Mr McCain, a winner-take-all haul and the largest single prize to date in the race.
Hillary Rodham Clinton won the Democratic race, an event that drew no campaigning by any of the contenders – and awarded no delegates to the winner.