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Rick Santorum Drops Out Of Presidential Race [VIDEO]

On the eve of the primary in his home state of Pennsylvania, Republican Rick Santorum is dropping out of the race for President.

Rick Santorum suspends campaign
Rick Santorum suspends campaign during a press conference in Gettysburg. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

Santorum, appearing with his wife and children in Gettysburg, told supporters the race for him was over, but the fight to defeat President Barack Obama would go on.

He pointedly made no mention or endorsement of Mitt Romney, whom Santorum had derided as an unworthy standard-bearer for the GOP.

The former Pennsylvania senator stressed that he’d taken his campaign farther than anyone expected.

“We will continue to go out and fight and defeat President Barack Obama,” Santorum declared.

Santorum spoke with Romney before the announcement, a Republican source close to the campaign said. Romeny in a statement called Santorum an `able and worthy competitor’ “He has proven himself to be an important voice in our party and in the nation,” Romney said. “We both recognize that what is most important is putting the failures of the last three years behind us and setting America back on the path to prosperity.”

The delegate totals told the tale of Santorum’s demise. Romney has more than twice as many delegates as Santorum and is on pace to reach the 1,144 needed to clinch the nomination by early June.

Still in the race, but not considered a factor: former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Rep. Ron Paul. Gingrich is not planning on leaving the race, vowing

Gingrich pledges to stay in GOP race until the convention to give conservatives `a real choice.’

The move makes Mitt Romney the likely Republican nominee for President. The announcement comes  two weeks before the Keystone state’s GOP presidential primary.

Santorum had taken time off from campaigning earlier this week to spend time with his 3 year old daughter Bella who was hospitalized at a northern Virginia hospital. She suffers from a rare genetic condition.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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