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Ron Paul officially, for what it is worth, drops out of the Presidential race and refuses to run for President outside the Republican Party, living up to all promises.

March 6, 2008 7:33 PM

ABC News’ Z. Byron Wolf reports: “Elections are short-term efforts,” Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, told supporters in a Web video tonight. “Revolutions are long-term projects.”

Paul indicated that the 2008 presidential campaign portion of his revolution is over.

An earlier version of this report indicated that Paul would “drop out” of the race. In the video, Paul did not use the words “drop out,” opting instead to say the campaign is “winding down,” and he encourages supporters to still cast votes for him. But he referred to his campaign in the past tense.

“We are still in the early stages of bringing about the changes that this revolution is all about,” Paul said in the video. “Let us hope that we can one day look back and say that this campaign was a significant first step that signaled a change in direction for our country. Our job now is to plan for the next phase.”

For Paul, that phase will mean spreading his message beyond the campaign trail. He hopes to create an umbrella organization to stoke some of the grassroots support that made his presidential campaign notable.

The video was briefly available on Paul’s Web site and YouTube before being pulled for what the campaign termed “technical difficulties.” Officials promised it would be reposted on YouTube. In the meantime, the video could be seen by clicking HERE.

Paul said his revolution is about more than his campaign and more than just him. He also put in a plug for his forthcoming book — “The Revolution: A Manifesto.”

It was a spirited run for Paul, whose followers called their support for him a “revolution” of non-interventionism and small government.

In recent weeks, Paul’s campaign had already taken a back seat to his simultaneous bid for re-election to his congressional seat.

Despite a concerned-seeming fundraising blitz toward the end of the Republican primary in Texas, Paul won the party primary for the 14th Texas congressional district by more than 2 to 1. He did not fare so well in the Republican presidential primary in Texas, getting less than 5 percent of the vote and no delegates.

Paul has amassed 14 delegates that he can take to the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis in September — miles short of what was needed to be seen as a contender for the nomination.

Paul ran well outside his party on issues as central as the war in Iraq and civil liberties. His contention that his views were closer to the roots of the Republican Party got some people thinking, but ultimately did not get enough votes.

The Texas congressman, an OB-GYN by trade, can rightly claim his presidential bid, which enjoyed a visible — if apparently non-voting — following, and enjoyed several quarters of impressive fundraising, was successful at giving Republicans some pause.

Echoes of his pledge to shut down the IRS could be heard in the campaign of Mike Huckabee, who ran closer to the Republican mainstream on other issues. And as the U.S. economy dips, some may see new light in Paul’s criticism of the Department of Treasury and the Federal Reserve for the role they play in inflation.

Ultimately, however, Paul wanted to campaign as a Republican and be, as one aide put it recently, “not entirely quixotic.”

Paul has shied away from calls by supporters to run a third party campaign for the presidency. He mounted such a campaign in 1988 when he left the Republican Party to run for president as a Libertarian. But this time, Paul has said that the U.S. political system is too tough a nut to crack for third parties. It takes too much money and organization, he has said, to get on the ballot.

Plus, as he wrote to supporters after trouncing his congressional primary opponent, his job in the Congress is a pretty good one and allows him a soap box from which to preach his small government, libertarian gospel.

“The message of freedom is popular,” he wrote on Tuesday night. “And I will continue to trumpet it in Congress and across America as I fight on behalf of the conservative, common-sense values which made our country so great. In conclusion, I would like to offer my thanks and gratitude to all of the wonderful people who supported me in this campaign. I look forward to representing all of the good people of the 14th District of Texas in Congress in the years to come.”