Fred Thompson drops out – UPDATED

UPDATE:::Beth confirms, FDT wants a veep slot:::END UPDATE

Not really a surprise:

“Today, I have withdrawn my candidacy for president of the United States. I hope that my country and my party have benefited from our having made this effort,” Thompson said in a statement.

Thompson’s fate was sealed last Saturday in the South Carolina primary, when he finished third in a state that he had said he needed to win.

In the statement, Thompson did not say whether he would endorse any of his former rivals. He was one of a handful of members of Congress who supported Arizona Sen. John McCain in 2000 in his unsuccessful race against George W. Bush for the party nomination.

Clearly this will be a big gain – at least initially – for Mitt Romney, because the Thompson supporters seem to distrust McCain, and from my email I know too many of them are afraid of Giuliani’s “serial adultery and cross dressing.”

I referred to Fred below as the “flirt who would not put out.” I don’t think he ever really wanted it. Perhaps the spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak? More likely the ego was flattered but the heart said, “nah.” As I said here, a president has to be more than an embodiment of a mood.

More here:

Fans trying to draft him as a candidate launched an online effort, seizing on his conservative Senate voting record as well as his lumbering 6-foot-5 frame and deep baritone as they argued that he was right out of central casting. They painted him as the second coming of Ronald Reagan and the would-be savior of a Republican Party demoralized after electoral losses in 2006 at all levels of government.
[…]
He delayed his expected summertime entrance in the race until fall, perhaps missing an opening created by McCain’s near campaign implosion.

Ed Morrissey has still more:

It seems like an opportunity lost, but perhaps one that may have been overestimated from the beginning.

Breathe. Take a deep breath and let it out. Now, begin again. Then consider that Huckabee may be out next.

It’s just getting interesting.

Jim Geraghty says Fred should have punched more hippies.

John Stephenson and Michelle Malkin wonder what happens next. Well, here is my big raspberry to the folks who claim they’ll sit it out.

Beth extends thanks to Thompson for pushing the other candidates rightward.

Rick Moran is in mourning.

Bob Krumm is heading Rudyward…sort of.

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