WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today regarding former House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt’s decision to end his candidacy for the Democratic Presidential nomination:
“Richard Gephardt is one of the finest public servants in our nation’s history. I have worked closely with Dick for more than 22 years, and there is no doubt in my mind that he has the experience, the skill and the vision to step into the White House tomorrow and effectively execute the duties of Commander in Chief. I believe that he could have defeated President Bush in a head-to-head match up, and that he would have been a terrific President who made all Americans proud. That is why I strongly supported his candidacy.
“Dick’s passion and commitment to improving the lives of all Americans, and particularly working people, are well known and bone deep. In many respects, he really is the embodiment of the American Dream, and it is a demonstration of his leadership and character that he spent his professional life trying to make sure that those who followed him had even greater opportunities than he did growing up in St. Louis.
“But as the American people saw last night in Iowa, the Democratic Party has several other experienced and energized candidates who are competing for our presidential nomination and the opportunity to take our message of hope and opportunity to the voters in November.
“While this contest did not turn out as Dick and his many supporters would have liked, he has so much talent and so much love for this country and the American people that it is hard to believe that he will step out of the public arena altogether. Furthermore, I believe that whoever does secure our Party’s nomination will give serious consideration to finding a role for Dick Gephardt. I only wish Dick, Jane and their wonderful family the best in the future. I am honored to call him colleague and friend.”