CHARLESTON — Rick Perry stood by his wife, his son and some staff, dark circles under the latter’s eyes. Cameras whirred and clicked among the small sea of reporters sitting, kneeling and standing in the Hyatt’s crowded conference room.
Ending a quest is never easy. But it was time.
Perry went on to announce that he was ending his campaign and endorsing Newt Gingrich, flaws and all: “Newt is not perfect, but no one is,” he said, adding that “he has the heart of a conservative reformer” who will be a “conservative champion” in the fall.
Borrowing, he said, from Sam Houston, the first governor of Texas, “I know when it’s time to make a strategic retreat.”
He thanked his supporters and surrogates. He especially appreciated his wife, Anita, kissing her in an emotional moment.
“Things are gonna be good no matter what,” he said, ending with remarks about the broad Republican Party agenda, including the need for smaller, less involved government.
Further, he did not rule out future campaigns. He said he was “resolute to remain in the [public] arena,” and called his presidential bid a “calling.” Such a “calling never guarantees [the] … outcome” one wants, he said, “but a journey that tests one’s character.”
It is a journey that is now over.