Thompson stays in...for now

Former Sen. Fred Thompson (Tenn.) did not withdraw from the race for the Republican nomination Saturday night, though many assumed anything less than a second place finish in South Carolina would prompt him to do so.

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As he remained locked in a battle for third place with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Thompson addressed his supporters early Saturday night, and left them by saying: "Stay strong."

Even with the overwhelming majority of precincts still out, it was clear that Thompson would do no better than third as Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee were stuck in a narrow fight for first.

Thompson's campaign has said for the past several weeks that a win or a strong finish in the Palmetto State was crucial to the ex-senator's hopes.