Fred Thompson Ends Bid for Nomination

NAPLES, Fla. (AP) - Republican Fred Thompson has quit the presidential race, according to a statement. Thompson had been considering whether to continue after a disappointing third-place finish in South Carolina.

He'd failed to win in two states where he hoped to perform strongly -- Iowa and South Carolina.

The former Tennessee senator and "Law & Order" actor, a latecomer to the presidential race, returned home after delivering a speech in South Carolina over the weekend that sounded like he was calling it quits.

Before South Carolina, several Thompson aides had said he would probably need to finish first or a strong second to go forward.

In his statement, Thompson says, "I hope that my country and my party have benefited from our having made this effort."

He didn't say whether he would endorse any of his former rivals.

He was one of a handful of members of Congress who supported John McCain in 2000 against George W. Bush.