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Hours Before CNN Debate, Rick Perry Drops out of GOP Race

The TV networks are reporting Rick Perry will hold an 11amET news conference at which he will announce he’s dropping out of the race for the GOP nomination for president. The week started with six candidates and by tonight’s CNN debate in South Carolina there will be just four on the stage: Gingrich, Paul, Romney and Santorum.

CNN’s Peter Hamby was first with the news, with the network reporting it at 9:11, Chuck Todd on MSNBC reported “the chatter” about Perry at 9:18 (getting confirmation at 9:33), Fox Business also reported the news at 9:18, citing CNN, and Fox News reported the story at 9:24am getting confirmation at 9:40.

The Perry news came just hours after reports that Rick Santorum did, in fact, get more votes — 34 more — in the Iowa Caucus than Mitt Romney. With Perry dropping out, his likely endorsement of Newt Gingrich and the interview with Marianne Gingrich — second wife of Newt — scheduled to air later today on ABC, Santorum’s win in Iowa will likely be overshadowed most of the day.

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