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Huntsman Takes Shot at 'Toxic' GOP Race While Dropping Out, Endorsing Romney

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"this race has degenerated into an onslaught of negative and personal attacks"

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (The Blaze/AP) -- Republican Jon Huntsman has dropped out of the GOP presidential race and has endorsed Mitt Romney.

Huntsman said the former Massachusetts governor gives the Republican Party its best shot at defeating President Barack Obama in the November general election.

After staking his candidacy on New Hampshire, Huntsman finished third in the primary there last week. He faced a likely defeat in South Carolina's primary on Saturday.

"As candidates for our party's nomination, our common goal is to restore bold and principled leadership to the White House," he said. "Yet rather than seeking to advance that common goal by speaking directly to voters about our ideas … this race has degenerated into an onslaught of negative and personal attacks not worthy of the American people."

"At its core, the Republican Party is a party of ideas. But the current toxic form of our political discourse does not help our cause," he added. "Today I call on each campaign to cease attacking each other and instead talk directly to the American people."

Huntsman's resume had suggested he could be a major contender for the GOP presidential nomination. But the former Utah governor and diplomat found a poor reception for his brand of moderate civility, which he had hoped would draw support from independents as well as Republican moderates.

Huntsman announced his decision Monday in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

You can watch the full announcement below:

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