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Michele Bachmann Ends Presidential Bid

Updated: 12:16 p.m.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) suspended her campaign for the GOP presidential nod this morning following a disappointing sixth-place finish in Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses.

“Last night, the people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice. So I have decided to stand aside,” Bachmann told supporters at a morning news conference in Iowa. “I believe we must rally around the person that our country, and our party, and our people select to be that standard-bearer.”

Bachmann is the first candidate to drop out of the race following the Iowa results. Moments before Bachmann’s speech, Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced via Twitter he would continue on to South Carolina to campaign for the GOP nomination instead of taking a break.

Perry, who finished in fifth place in the caucuses despite spending significant financial resources, announced last night that he was returning to Austin, Texas, to “reassess” whether his campaign is still viable. But this morning, Perry announced he plans to continue his campaign.

“And the next leg of the marathon is the Palmetto State…Here we come South Carolina!!!” Perry tweeted, with a link to a photo of himself wearing spandex running attire.

Meanwhile, Bachmann did not address her political future in her final remarks as a presidential candidate, and she did not endorse another candidate. She must decide whether to seek re-election before the 6th district’s GOP convention on April 14.

Bachmann won the Ames straw poll in August amid much fanfare, capping off a successful summer of campaigning as an outspoken conservative and tea party favorite. But her campaign had faltered ever since, including in Iowa where she was born.

The three-term Republican previously planned to head to South Carolina today for a campaign swing but canceled the trip in lieu of her announcement.

The top four caucus finishers were scheduled today to head to New Hampshire in advance of next Tuesday’s first-in-the-nation primary. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney bested ex-Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.) by eight votes in Iowa, followed by Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) who finished a strong third. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) finished a distant fourth.

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