Reported by: WPTV Staff
Rudy Giuliani has dropped out of the presidential race and is endorsing John McCain.With McCain at his side, Giuliani calls the Arizona Senator "the most qualified candidate to be the next commander in chief of the United States."
Reported by, Bryan Garner
Photographer, Jenny Newell
A senior official with the Giuliani team tells NBC News the candidate will drop out of the race to endorse John McCain's presidential bid.
Giuliani's primary night speech in Orlando, filled with thank you's to friends, family and staff, clearly signaled the end of his campaign.
Roughly 200 of his supporters gathered at the Portofino Bay hotel, holding up signs reading "Florida is Rudy Country."
And that points to the big gamble Rudy Giuliani made: ignoring the early primaries and spending 40 days in this state, more than any other candidate.
As the results came in and it became clear he would finish a distant third in the Florida primary, Giuliani took to the stage to praise his supporters for running a clean campaign, distinguishing himself from the recent skirmishes between Romney and McCain.
"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, We ran a campaign that was uplifting," said Giuliani.
Giuliani was banking on support from Floridians with ties to New York. The Connor family from Palm Beach County, all former New Yorkers, traveled to the Giuliani rally in Orlando to show their support. They say they wish they could have voted for Giuliani but as independents they could not vote in Florida's closed presidential primary. They suspect their candidate lost a lot of the independent and cross-over vote because of that.
On his way out of the hotel I asked the former mayor, "What's your next step?"
He paused for a moment and said, "I guess the airport. I'm going to California."
That's the site of the GOP debate, scheduled for Wednesday night at the Ronald Reagan Library.
Copyright 2008 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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