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Exit at Gettysburg.


Former Sen. Rick Santorum's decision yesterday to suspend his bid for the Republican presidential nomination essentially brings the GOP contest to a close, ensuring that Mitt Romney will be the party's standard bearer this fall.

But as he leaves the political stage - perhaps for a while, perhaps for good - it's worth taking stock of Mr. Santorum's campaign and the manner of his departure.

His campaign was surely that of an underdog, offering Republican voters an arguably more conservative alternative to Mr. Romney, albeit one whose pockets were not as deep, and whose social views might well have given many independent voters pause come fall.

But whatever one thinks of Mr. Santorum's ideas, it is hard not to admire him for his honest, forthright and courageous manner of expression. The sincerity of his desire to serve his country was clear. We don't think he always enjoyed the best political advice, but we give him points for effort and honesty.

And in choosing Gettysburg, Pa., for his announcement, Mr. Santorum has reminded Americans of the central chapter in their history.

The American Civil War divided this nation as nothing before or since, but it was at Gettysburg, too, that Americans witnessed shining examples of nobility in defeat and reconciliation in victory.

Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's withdrawal after three days of terrible fighting in 1864, and President Abraham Lincoln's famous address on that battlefield nearly five months later hold important lessons about the American character.

Rick Santorum fell short in his bid for the presidency, as most candidates do. His campaign does not weight the scales of history like a Lee or a Lincoln. But he ran honorably, and in so doing has served well both his party and his nation.
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Title Annotation:EDITORIAL
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Apr 11, 2012
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