Republican Newt Gingrich dropped out of the presidential race Wednesday, ending what was a turbulent, roller coaster bid for the White House.
With millions of dollars in campaign debt and just two GOP primary victories under his belt, the former House Speaker finally bowed out.
"Today I am suspending the campaign, but suspending the campaign does not mean suspending citizenship," Gingrich said in lengthy remarks.
Gingrich deemed the campaign "a truly wild ride" in Arlington, Va., saying, "I could never have predicted either the low points or the high points."
Quoting an observer who suggested his best days may be ahead, Newt vowed to focus on balancing the U.S. budget, advocating for "religious liberty" and social security savings accounts and working for American energy independence.
He said he would work to "reemphasize the work ethic" in America, advocate for national security positions and press for increased brain research.
Gingrich also stood behind his campaign push for a moon colony, though he admitted that it was "probably not my most clever comment in this campaign." He said Americans should seek to "go out and pursue great adventure."Gingrich, who said during the campaign that presumptive nominee Mitt Romney was not a true conservative, said Wednesday that Romney should be certainly considered conservative in comparison to President Obama.
"This is not a choice between Mitt Romney and Ronald Reagan, it is between Mitt Romney and the most radical leftist president in American history," he said.
Gingrich did not endorse Romney Wednesday, but his spokesman, R.C. Hammond, said he planned to do so at a joint appearance with him in the future.
In a statement, Romney, who has now dispatched all rivals but Ron Paul through attrition, praised Newt in a statement, saying that Gingrich "has brought creativity and intellectual vitality to American political life."
"During the course of this campaign, Newt demonstrated both eloquence and fearlessness in advancing conservative ideas," he said.
"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. 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."