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(BBC) Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum has ended his bid for the White House, leaving Mitt Romney as the presumptive nominee.
The former Pennsylvania senator made the announcement at a news conference in the city of Gettysburg.
"While this presidential race is over for me, we are not done fighting," said Mr Santorum, a social conservative.
He had been campaigning in Pennsylvania, his home state, ahead of its primary on 24 April.
But he was far behind Mr Romney in terms of funding and was in danger of losing the state for the second time in six years, analysts said.
(BBC) Texas Congressman Ron Paul congratulated the former senator on running a "spirited campaign". Mr Paul has the fewest delegates but, like Mr Gingrich, has refused to pull out of the contest.
To all intents and purposes, the Republican race is over. With Rick Santorum out, Mitt Romney can focus solely on Barack Obama. His message is that the president has failed America on the economy - burdening small businesses with tax and regulations, while widening the deficit through what he says is an obsession with government spending.
The Obama campaign fully expected Mitt Romney to be the nominee. In a statement, it accused the multi-millionaire challenger of trying to buy the election - through negative adverts funded by special interests. And it claimed the more the American people saw of Mr Romney, the less they liked and trusted him. It all points to a brutal and very personal campaign.