Fred Thompson Bows Out Of '08 Presidential Race

Actor and former senator announces his withdrawal following third-place finish in South Carolina.

Former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson, who is perhaps best known for his work on "Law & Order," has pulled his name out of the proverbial hat, announcing Tuesday (January 22) through his Web site that he won't be seeking the Republican nomination for president.

"Today I have withdrawn my candidacy for president of the United States," he said in a statement. "I hope that my country and my party have benefited from our having made this effort. [My wife] Jeri and I will always be grateful for the encouragement and friendship of so many wonderful people."

Thompson's decision follows on the heels of Saturday's South Carolina Republican primary, in which he finished third (see "John McCain Edges Past Mike Huckabee In SC; Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney Hit The Jackpot In NV"). It was a state he had hoped to take, but with the poor showing at the polls, Thompson's campaign took a critical hit. According to The New York Times, Thompson's advisers said he will not be endorsing any of the other presidential hopefuls.

The 65-year-old thespian was an early favorite for his party's nomination, but his campaign floundered from the outset, and Thompson never quite garnered the support he needed to carry on. He was one of the last candidates to enter the race, after months of speculation that he'd take a stab at the White House.

Because Thompson's supporters were largely conservative, his decision could end up assisting the campaign of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, as well as former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's run.