Tommy Thompson drops out of presidential race (MORE: YOUTUBE DEBATE FOR R’S BACK ON)

He made it official via a press release. The AP reports:

MILWAUKEE – Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson is dropping out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination, a campaign official said Sunday.

His campaign released a statement saying the Republican is leaving the campaign trail several hours after WITI-TV in Milwaukee reported that Thompson told one of its reporters he was withdrawing.

The campaign statement said Thompson intends to take sometime off before returning to the private sector and his nonprofit work.

It said the 65-year-old says he’s comforted by the fact that he thinks he made a difference for people during his campaign.

He finished sixth among eleven candidates in this weekend’s GOP straw poll in Iowa. He had said before the Iowa event that he would drop out of the race unless he finished first or second.

Click here to read Thompson’s statement.

As one Thompson exits the race, another prepares to enter it.

Related: Drudge is reporting on his front page with no direct link that the Republican YouTube debate on CNN is back on. Good.

My opinion on the talk that Republican candidates were wanting to back out of the debate is here.

Update: Here’s a link to that story:

It looks as if the Republican presidential candidates, at least most of them, will be participating in a YouTube debate after all. The forum is now set for Nov. 28, the Wednesday after Thanksgiving.

The campaigns of Rudy Giuliani and Sen. John McCain have signed on, according to CNN, which will broadcast the event.

CNN said it had not heard from Mitt Romney, who has been critical of the format, in which the general public poses questions via video sent to YouTube.

Romney’s spokesman could not be reached Sunday night.

The Republicans were supposed to hold their YouTube debate Sept. 17. After a similarly styled Democratic debate in July, however, Romney called the format demeaning, in part because one of the questions to Democrats came from an animated snowman.

In addition, he and Giuliani said they had scheduling conflicts because the date came near the end of the third quarter, when they would be focused on raising money.

Now they’ll have more time to prepare for questions from the infamous snowman.

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