Moments ago, Fred Thompson withdrew from the presidential race. Here is what he said:
Today I have withdrawn my candidacy for President of the United States. I hope that my country and my party have benefited from our having made this effort. Jeri and I will always be grateful for the encouragement and friendship of so many wonderful people.
Thompson did not endorse anyone, and it’s not clear that he will. Whether he does or not, I suspect that his supporters, perhaps 10 to 12 percent of Republican voters, will divide fairly evenly among Romney, McCain, and (in southern states) Huckabee.
Thompson will be second-guessed, and not without cause, for entering the race so late. But it reflects well on Thompson that he did not want to enter until he had thought through his positions on key issues that he hadn’t been following closely in recent years. Unfortunately, the voters never rewarded his thoughtfulness.
UPDATE: Chris Cillizza takes a more scientific look at how Thompson’s support will divide now that he’s out of the race. His conclusion, I think it’s fair to say, is about the same as mine.