Rick Perry ends presidential campaign, endorses Newt Gingrich

Rick Perry ended his presidential campaign Thursday and endorsed Newt Gingrich's candidacy for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

At a press conference in Charleston, S.C., Perry called Gingrich "a conservative visionary who can transform our country."

"Newt is not perfect, but who among us is?" Perry said. "The fact is, there is forgiveness for those who seek God." He mentioned the importance of redemption to Christianity.

In an interview with ABC News that is scheduled to be broadcast Thursday on Nightline, Gingrich's second ex-wife, Marianne, says the former Speaker of the House "wanted an open marriage."

At an event in Beaufort, S.C., on Thursday, Gingrich said Perry would lead a "Tenth Amendment enforcement project" for his campaign, "reaching out to every governor in the country of both parties, reaching out to mayors, reaching out to state legislatures and working with conservative legislators in Washington so that we can have a very strong platform plank in Tampa in August on the Tenth Amendment."

Perry, who catapulted to the top of public-opinion polls when he first announced his candidacy last summer, placed a disappointing fifth in the Iowa caucuses and sixth in the New Hampshire primaries, where he received less than 1 percent of the vote.

South Carolina Republicans will vote in the state's primaries on Saturday.

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