SOUTH CAROLINA (CBSNewYork) — It’s the end of the road for John Huntsman. The former Utah Governor has halted his bid for the Republican candidacy.

“I offer my heartfelt thanks. Today our campaign for the presidency ends, but  our campaign to build a better and more trustworthy America continues,” he said.

CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported that Huntsman now supports Mitt Romney. He referred to Romney as the candidate “best equipped” to beat President Obama. But that’s a far cry from what he said about Romney last week.

“When you have a candidate who talks about enjoyment in firing people, who  talks about pink slips, who makes comments that seem to be so detached from the problems that Americans are facing today, that makes you pretty much  unelectable,” he said last Wednesday in Columbia.

Now Huntsman is urging the other Republican candidates to stop attacking each other.

Candidates and Political Action Committees have spent more than $11,000,000 on television ads in South Carolina alone, where polls show Romney to be well ahead of the pack. But Romney’s rivals aren’t ready to give up the fight.

“Money doesn’t win elections; ideas, character, integrity, vision that’s what wins elections,” said Romney competitor Rick Santorum.

Ron Paul, the candidate who came the closest to beating Romney in New Hampshire will join the other candidates in a Monday night debate.

Candidate Newt Gingrich offered a challenge of his own to Romney.

“I would be glad to debate him anywhere in the state on Friday for 90 minutes just the two of us and you can decide who is more electable,” he said.

A second debate is scheduled for Thursday night in Charleston, South Carolina. Voters will head to the polls on Saturday.

Who do you think will carry the flag for the GOP in 2012? Let us know in our comments section below…

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