Du Pont, Babbitt Leave Campaign; Both Decline to Endorse Rivals

Democrat Bruce Babbitt and Republican Pete du Pont dropped out of the presidential race today, both declaring their futile campaigns the opportunities of a lifetime.

Both du Pont, former governor of Delaware, and Babbitt, former governor of Arizona, said they would not endorse another candidate for now.

Babbitt made his exit gracefully in a quip-filled Washington news conference. "Look, I'm not going to slash my throat if we don't raise taxes tomorrow," said the former Arizona governor, who had asked voters to stand up for a national sales tax to reduce the deficit.

Babbitt, who finished fifth in Iowa's caucuses last week and sixth in New Hampshire's primary on Tuesday, said the campaign was "the greatest joy of my entire public life."

"Although I am withdrawing from this race, I am not withdrawing from the cause that brought me to it," Babbitt said. "I don't know why we fared no better; I'll leave that for others to ponder. But I am very proud of what we did achieve and I am honored beyond measure by the opportunity I was granted to take part in this campaign."


Babbitt, who formally announced his candidacy on March 10, 1987, failed to set the electorate afire with his call for a national sales tax to combat the federal deficit, but received good press reviews for his candor and wry humor.

He said today a friend had told him, "Bruce, you fought a good fight. You were in it right up to the beginning."

Du Pont, whose provocative ideas about fundamental change in Social Security and abolition of farm subsidies failed to attract much voter support, announced his withdrawal in a news conference in Wilmington, Delaware. The heir to the chemical-company fortune finished fifth in Iowa and fourth in New Hampshire.

"The campaign has lowered its flag, but the crusade continues to march," said the former governor and congressman. He said his ideas are right for the country and "they're coming to America sooner or later."

"In America we do not promise that everyone wins, only that every-one has the opportunity to try. You have given me the opportunity... You listened, considered and chose. I could not have asked for more," du Pont said.

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