Edwards officially suspends his campaign

Former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) officially announced that he would suspend his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in New Orleans Wednesday, ending the campaign where it began.

The star power and fundraising prowess of Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.) were too much to overcome for Edwards, and he never seriously competed for front-runner status. Following a second-place finish in Iowa, Edwards quickly fell far behind the former first lady and the charismatic Illinois senator.

The former senator, who was his party’s vice presidential nominee four years ago, did not endorse a candidate in his speech.

The remaining Democratic candidates praised Edwards.

“John Edwards has spent a lifetime fighting to give voice to the voiceless and hope to the struggling, even when it wasn’t popular to do or covered in the news,” Obama said. “At a time when our politics is too focused on who’s up and who’s down, he made a nation focus again on who matters — the New Orleans child without a home, the West Virginia miner without a job, the families who live in that other America that is not seen or heard or talked about by our leaders in Washington.”

Clinton also lauded the former senator, saying that the two share a “lot of passions” and adding that she would seek to bring Edwards’s supporters to her campaign.

Edwards said both of his rivals pledged to continue to fight for the ideals he stood for during his campaign.

“America’s hour of transformation is upon us,” the former senator said, adding that the Democratic Party would fight for those in need.