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Inside Politics

Lieberman ends 'quest' for White House

Connecticut senator pinned hopes on winning in Delaware

Sen. Joe Lieberman congratulated Sens. John Kerry and John Edwards, and said he was leaving the race.
Sen. Joe Lieberman congratulated Sens. John Kerry and John Edwards, and said he was leaving the race.

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Joe Lieberman drops out of the race for the White House.
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(CNN) -- Sen. Joe Lieberman dropped out of the presidential race Tuesday after poor showings in every state to hold a primary or caucus so far.

Speaking to supporters, Lieberman congratulated Sens. John Kerry and John Edwards on their victories. CNN projects that Kerry will win contests in Delaware, Missouri, Arizona and North Dakota, and Edwards will win South Carolina.

"But for me, it is now time to make a difficult but realistic decision," Lieberman said.

"After looking at the returns and speaking with my family and campaign team, I have decided tonight to end my quest for the presidency of the United States of America."

Lieberman, a senator from Connecticut, had been expected to compete well in Delaware on Tuesday, but with results in from nearly all precincts, he had earned only 11 percent of the vote.

He had skipped the Iowa caucuses to campaign for months in New Hampshire, but ended up in fifth place in that state's primary.

Lieberman was first introduced to millions of U.S. voters as Al Gore's running mate in his unsuccessful presidential bid in 2000.

Gore and Lieberman won the popular vote by a half-million votes but conceded to Bush after a tumultuous 36-day recount in Florida and a 5-4 Supreme Court vote against them.

Lieberman did not announce his candidacy until after Gore said he would not run. He was spurned by Gore in December, when his former running mate endorsed former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean for president.

Lieberman had positioned himself as a moderate Democrat less susceptible than his rivals to Republican attacks on taxes, values and issues.

Although a centrist campaign was credited with putting President Bill Clinton in the White House in the 1990s, the early appeal of the left-leaning Dean caused some Democrats to question whether the approach would work for Lieberman.

Lieberman's campaign never found traction. He trailed in polls and fund raising throughout the race.

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