It is with great pride, understanding and acceptance that I am ending my campaign for President of the United States. It was my hope that all of you would first hear this news from me and not a news organization. But unfortunately, as with too many things in our world today, it's the ending of something that garners the most intense interest and speculation.
I knew from the beginning that this would be an uphill climb. When I entered the campaign, it was clear that we, as Democrats, had the most talented field of candidates in my lifetime running to change the direction of our country. And in the end, one of them will.
Despite overwhelming financial and political odds, I am proud of the campaign we waged and the influence we had on the issues that matter most to the future of this country.
A year ago, we were the only major campaign calling for the removal of all of our troops within a year's time from Iraq. We were the only campaign calling for a complete reform of education in this country, including the scrapping of No Child Left Behind. And we were the campaign with the most aggressive clean energy plan and the most ambitious standards for reducing global warming.
Now, all of the remaining candidates are coming to our point of view. I am confident that the next President of the United States will implement much of what we've been urging for the last twelve months, and our nation and world will be the better for it.
There are so many of you who gave so much to this campaign. For that, I will be forever grateful. Running for president has been, at times, humbling and at other times, exhilarating. I have grown and learned a great deal from the experience, and I am a better person for it.
Also, because of your close friendship and support throughout the ups and downs of what is a very grueling and demanding process, I have never felt alone.
Running for president brings out the best in everyone who graces the stage, and I have learned much from the other candidates running. They have all brought great talents and abilities to the campaign.
Senator Biden's passion and intellect are remarkable.
Senator Dodd is the epitome of selfless dedication to public service and the Democratic Party.
Senator Edwards is a singular voice for the most downtrodden and forgotten among us.
Senator Obama is a bright light of hope and optimism at a time of great national unease, yet he is also grounded in thoughtful wisdom beyond his years.
Senator Clinton's poise in the face of adversity is matched only by her lifetime of achievement and deep understanding of the challenges we face.
Representative Kucinich is a man of great decency and dedication who will faithfully soldier on no matter how great the odds.
And all of us in the Democratic Party owe Senator Mike Gravel our appreciation for his leadership during the national turmoil of Vietnam.
I am honored to have shared the stage with each of these Democrats. And I am enormously grateful to all of my supporters who chose to stand with me despite so many other candidates of accomplishment and potential.
Now that my time in this national campaign has come to an end, I would urge those who supported my candidacy to take a long and thoughtful look at the remaining Democrats. They are all strong contenders who each, in their own way, would bring desperately needed change to our country. All I ask is that you make your own independent choice with the same care and dedication to this country that you honored me with during this campaign. At this time, I will not endorse any candidate.
Now I am returning to a job that I love, serving a state that I cherish and doing the work of the people I was elected to serve. As I have always said, I am the luckiest man I know. I am married to my high school sweetheart. I live in a place called the Land of Enchantment. I have the best job in the world. And I just got to run for president of the United States.
It doesn't get any better than that.
With my deepest appreciation for all that you have done,