by Free Britney at

Texas Governor Rick Perry will drop out of the GOP presidential race and endorse rival Newt Gingrich for the Republican nomination, according to news reports.

He will make the announcement shortly in North Charleston, S.C.

The move by Perry to end his flailing campaign was inevitable, yet came a few days sooner than expected, with the South Carolina primary looming this Saturday.

Perry hoped the state's evangelicals and social conservatives would revive his candidacy. Instead, it was Newt who surged after Monday's Republican debate.

Perry and Gingrich

Rick Perry was mired in the low single digits in the Palmetto State and nationally, while a revitalized Gingrich has shown an upward trajectory in recent polls.

Perry weighed dropping out of the race after a dismal finish in the Iowa caucuses, only to decide to stay in and make one last stand in South Carolina.

It was not to be. In hindsight, a campaign that began with such promise actually peaked on its first day, after which Perry sank like a stone in popularity.

Clearly not ready for prime time, Perry's substance never equaled his swagger. Amazing debate gaffes came early and often. Other candidates surged past him.

By dropping out now, he may provide a modest boost to Gingrich, who's trying to present himself as a more ideologically potent conservative than Mitt Romney.

Perry said in officially suspending his candidacy today:

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by Free Britney at

Jon Huntsman may have gotten out just in time.

In front of by FAR the most raucous crowd of any Republican debate held thus far, the five remaining GOP hopefuls squared off in South Carolina last night.

Ostensibly, everybody not named Mitt Romney angled to knock the frontrunner off his pedestal. In reality, it became a game of rhetorical one-upmanship.

The crowd cheered their support of U.S. soldiers urinating on dead Afghan bodies and their condemnation of the Obama administration’s condemnation of it.

Newt Gingrich earned a standing ovation for this quote: “Andrew Jackson knew what to do with his enemies - he killed them.” How professorial he can be.

Even Romney, the most vanilla of all candidates, got into the act, saying “The right thing for Osama bin Laden was the bullet in the head that he received.”

No one here's missing Osama, but really Mitt?

The audience then jeered Ron Paul for suggesting that “we should practice the Golden Rule in foreign policy.” Nice to see we boo NOT bombing people.

The yelled their approval of Rick Perry saying America should “go to zero on foreign aid.” They booed Juan Williams for questioning Newt's big janitor idea.

The South Carolina primary has a reputation for being a bloodbath, and last night's rancor showed why. Just imagine if this race were in any way close.

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