ARLINGTON, Virginia  - Former House speaker Newt Gingrich dropped his erratic campaign for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination Wednesday, but pledged to remain in the public eye as an “active citizen.” “Today, I am suspending the campaign. Suspending the campaign does not mean suspending citizenship,” Ginrich said. His exit leaves only Ron Paul, an anti-tax and anti-war veteran Texas congressman, officially in the race against presumptive nominee Mitt Romney. The 68-year-old Gingrich, best known for his polarizing term as leader of the House of Representatives in the 1990s, enjoyed brief spurts of success after a chaotic start to his presidential campaign.

But ultimately, Gingrich won just two nominating contests since the start of the state-by-state race in January — in his home state of Georgia and in South Carolina — and was a distant third in the fight to take on US President Barack Obama in November.