After an unexpected fourth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses, Missouri Congressman Dick Gephardt withdrew his bid for the White House Tuesday afternoon.
Gephardt did not specify plans to endorse any of the other Democratic candidates, though he did pledge to support the Democratic nominee "in any way I can."
Just one week ago, Gephardt had climbed to second place in the Iowa polls, right behind front-runner Howard Dean. Yet as Monday's caucuses drew near, Gephardt's support began to wane, just as John Kerry and Jon Edwards gained speed (see "John Kerry Scores Solid Victory In Iowa Caucuses"). The 11 percent of the electorate that chose Gephardt in Monday's caucuses paled in comparison to the 23 percent support rate noted by recent polls. The results in Iowa were even more disheartening considering Gephardt had won the competition there during his bid for the White House in 1988.
Gephardt spent $1.8 million in advertising in Iowa and garnered his core support from state workers' unions, 21 of which — including the Steelworkers, Teamsters and Machinists of Iowa — endorsed his campaign. But with only $18 million dollars raised to date, Gephardt aides had claimed that without a win in Iowa, the campaign would not last through February. Such a win was viewed as critical to encourage more contributions to the campaign and fund Gephardt's efforts into the February and March primaries.
In a press conference Tuesday afternoon Gephardt continued to voice his support for the working class, saying, "The fight for the working people is in my bones and I will never leave your side."
He seldom finished a speech without emphasizing his blue-collar background. In a recent interview with Diane Sawyer, Gephardt admitted to feeling a kinship with rapper Eminem due to their similar disadvantaged childhoods.