Huckabee concedes

After fighting on long after most saw the race as over, Mike Huckabee announces that he's stepping aside to make room for John McCain.

By Alex Koppelman
Published March 5, 2008 2:45AM (EST)

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee stuck it out until the bitter end, long past when nearly all observers had written him off and declared the Republican presidential nomination John McCain's. But on Tuesday night, reality was inescapable, as with his victories McCain had officially reached the magic number of delegates needed to clinch the nomination. And so Huckabee took his final bow.

With his wife by his side, Huckabee -- his voice breaking occasionally -- told his supporters that he would be leaving the race. Both Huckabee and his wife appeared to be blinking back tears throughout his speech, which seemed to have begun by the time the networks began their coverage. When he first appeared on camera, Huckabee was telling a story about former Kansas City Royals star George Brett; at the conclusion of the story Huckabee said, "Ladies and gentlemen, I called Sen. McCain a few moments ago. It looks pretty apparent tonight that he will in fact achieve 1,191 delegates to become the Republican nominee for our party. I extended to him not only my congratulations but my commitment to him and to the party to do everything possible to unite our party, but more importantly to unite our country, so that we can be the best nation we can be."

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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