DES MOINES, Iowa — Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann said Wednesday she's ending her bid for the Republicans presidential nomination after her last-place finish in Iowa's leadoff precinct caucuses.
"The people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice, so I decided to stand aside," Bachmann said at an emotional news conference, flanked by her family, hours after the caucus results were announced. "I have no regrets, none whatsoever. We never compromised our principles."
The conservative Minnesota congresswoman's decision, widely expected following her dismal Iowa showing, leaves her supporters up for grabs by the other candidates in the race and could be a boost for former Sen. Rick Santorum. Santorum narrowly lost the caucuses to front-runner Mitt Romney and is trying to emerge as the clear conservative alternative to the former Massachusetts governor.
Bachmann's decision gives Santorum a clear shot at consolidating the conservative vote heading into the next round of contests, though former House speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry still draw support from that pool.
As her campaign moved forward, Bachmann ran into a series of organizational and financial hurdles. She had a big shake-up in her campaign staff, with key backers leaving to join Ron Paul's campaign, and her fundraising trailed virtually all of her rivals. That slide was capped Tuesday night with her sixth-place showing in the leadoff precinct caucuses.
Below, a slideshow of Bachmann's best quotes and unforgettable moments: