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Michele Bachmann Campaign Disputes Claim That She Will Not Endorse Newt Gingrich [UPDATED]

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Rep. Michele Bachmann will not be joining Texas Gov. Rick Perry among failed presidential candidates willing to back former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's campaign.

The Minnesota Republican put out a statement to South Carolina press on Thursday morning, moments before Perry announced he was leaving the race. Ben Szobody of the Greenville News picked it up in full and highlighted the most important parts (emphasis ours).

For me, these past weeks have been filled with much prayer and personal reflection - which has provided some clarity. Ultimately, I recognize that endorsing a candidate is the responsible thing to do.

But it is far more responsible to ensure that candidate is one I can support with a strong conviction knowing, without any doubt, that they protect our values and have the ability to restore our nation's greatness. With some doubt still present, I am not yet prepared to offer my endorsement, but look forward to doing so in the coming weeks.

However, through this exhaustive process of consideration, it was strikingly obvious that one candidate could not be less acceptable to be our Party's nominee. He lacks the poise, experience and moral fiber to represent our principles and values. That candidate is Newt Gingrich.

In sum, our nation is in desperate need of a proven and moral leader who can point us back in the right direction - not a desperately flawed candidate like Newt Gingrich who has only proven he cannot lead.

Bachmann's coattails are about the same as Perry's: limited. But the fact that the two cannot coalesce around a Romney alternative seems to underscore just how fortunate Romney has been with his field of competition.

UPDATE: Bachmann for President Communications Director Alice Stewart issued the following statement after reports surfaced that she refused to endorse Gingrich:

"The Bachmann for President campaign has not issued an official statement regarding an endorsement of any current candidate in the GOP race ahead of the South Carolina primary. Any information found to the contrary is inaccurate."

The Huffington Post reached out to the Greenville News for a copy of the Bachmann statement that they posted earlier in the morning. They replied with the report found here.

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