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US presidential candidate Fred Thompson withdraws
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US Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson announced Tuesday that he would drop out of the race for president. 

"Today I have withdrawn my candidacy for President of the United States.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," he said in a statement posted on website.

He and his wife, Jeri, expressed gratitude to "the encouragement and friendship of so many wonderful people."

The 65 year-old former Tennessee Senator made the decision after he ended at the third place in the South Carolina Republican primary on January 19, where he was expected to show his popularity among conservative voters.

Thompson was best known for his performance on NBC's TV series "Law & Order," but later turned to political career. He kicked off his bid for the White House in September as the last one who jumped into the Republican candidacy battlefield.

In the statement, Thompson did not say whether he would endorse any of other candidates. In 2000, he was one of Congress members who backed Senator John McCain in his failed race for the party's presidential candidate.

Only four candidates left in the Republican camp vying for the White House -- Arizona Senator McCain, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, for Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who are all campaigning now in Florida to win the state's primary on January 29.

(Xinhua News Agency January 23, 2008)

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