Thompson Isn't Out of It—Yet

Disappointing result for GOP hopeful SC but he's not giving up yet
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2008 5:25 AM CST
Republican presidential hopeful, former Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., addresses supporters during a post-primary campaign rally on the campus of The University of South Carolina Saturday, Jan. 19, 2008,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – GOP presidential hopeful Fred Thompson said yesterday he needed a win in South Carolina to keep his campaign alive, but he hasn't officially pulled out—yet—despite a distant third-place 16% of the vote to frontrunner John McCain's 33%. But the writing seems to be on the wall, reports the Chicago Tribune. "It's been about our country," he told supporters, sounding like someone packing it in.

Analysts say Thompson 's campaign suffered from bad timing, the lack of a clear image, and from conservative GOP rival Mike Huckabee, who won 30% in the South Carolina primary. Chances don't look promising for a southern conservative who can't win a southern state, but Slate speculates Thompson might stay in the race just to torment Huckabee. All a Thompson campaign spokesman would say is: "The campaign is still a campaign until it's not the campaign."