Rep. Michele Bachmann ended her presidential campaign on Wednesday. An official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Minnesota lawmaker, a favorite of the tea party wing of the party and a harsh critic of President Obama, realized after her sixth-place finish in Iowa's caucuses that "there was no viable way forward." Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who received just 10 percent of the vote in Iowa, scuttled his South Carolina schedule and flew back to his home state to consider his options. A senior Republican official who spoke on condition of anonymity said Perry would stay in the race. The fallout leaves Mitt Romney as the clear front-runner for the GOP nomination, with former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum hoping his second-place finish in Iowa will be enough to make him a viable conservative alternative. Texas Rep. Ron Paul finished a close third. Bachmann, who won the Iowa straw poll in August, won only 5 percent of the votes in Tuesday's caucus and insisted on Tuesday night that she was the Republican "who can and who will" defeat President Obama.
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