Democrat Bill Richardson, who finished fourth in both Iowa and New Hampshire, withdrew from the presidential race today.
"It is with great pride, understanding, and acceptance that I am ending my campaign for president of the United States," he said at a news conference in Sante Fe, N.M.
He said he made his case during the numerous debates for "change, but guided by an experienced hand." He also urged his rivals to aim their fire at Republicans instead of each other.
Richardson tried to highlight his experience as New Mexico's governor and as a United Nations ambassador and energy secretary, but could not gain any momentum against the better-financed, more-hyped Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
Richardson, who was seeking to become the first Hispanic president, did not immediately endorse anyone. His name has been mentioned as a possible vice presidential pick for the eventual nominee.
But within hours of Richardson's press conference, Clinton trumpted endorsements by two prominent Richardson backers, former Ambassador Edward Romero and Henry Cisneros, the first Hispanic to serve as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
"Hillary Clinton has the right combination of passion, leadership, and heart that will make her the best President," Cisneros, who served in President Bill Clinton's administration, said in a statement issued by her campaign.
Clinton then issued a statement through her campaign, saying, "Governor Richardson is a great public servant and a friend. He waged a hard-fought and substantive campaign, and helped drive the conversation on the great issues facing our nation. I wish him the best of luck as he continues his outstanding work in New Mexico."
Richardson's departure leaves only John Edwards in the top tier of Democratic candidates. Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and former Senator Mike Gravel of Alaska are still in the race, but are not drawing much money or many votes.