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By BETH FOUHY and DAVID ESPO

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (AP) — Republican Rick Perry says he’s dropping out of the GOP presidential race and endorsing Newt Gingrich.

The Texas governor announced his decision this morning at a news conference in South Carolina, two days before the state’s primary.

Perry said he concluded there was no “viable path forward” for him in the race. He praised Gingrich as a “conservative visionary.”

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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