Third-Party Candidacy for McCain?

July 7, 2008 - 7:25 PM

( - Arizona Senator John McCain today announced he is "no longer an active candidate for my Party's nomination for president," and he appeared to leave open the possibility of a third-party candidacy.

"I'm suspending my campaign so that Cindy and I can take some time to reflect on our recent experiences and determine how we can best continue to serve the country and help bring about the changes to the practices and institutions of our great democracy that are the purpose of our campaign.

"I love my Party," he said. "It is my home. Ours is the party of Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Reagan. That's good company for any American to keep, and it is a distinct privilege to serve the same cause that those great Americans dedicated their lives to. But I'm also dedicated to the necessary cause of reform, and I will never walk away from a fight for what I know is right and just for our country.

"As I said throughout the campaign, what is good for my country is good for my party. Should our party ever abandon this principle, the American people will rightly abandon us and we will surely slip into the mists of history, deserving the allegiance of none.

McCain said he "will take our crusade back to the United States Senate," where he will "keep fighting to give the government back to the people."

McCain thanked his supporters and asked them to "never give up" - to continue their service "in the worthy cause of revitalizing our democracy."

"Stay in this fight with us," McCain said. We need your service as much as ever."

McCain did not endorse his Republican rival George W. Bush, nor did he offer to support Bush's quest for the White House: "I congratulate Gov. Bush ... He may very well become the next president of the United States. That is an honor accorded to very few, and is such a great responsibility that he deserves the best wishes of every American. He certainly has mine."

His final advice to his supporters was, "Keep fighting, my friends, keep fighting. America needs you."

And then the media-accessible star of the Straight Talk Express walked away from the podium without taking any questions from reporters.