Jon Huntsman, who frequently criticized Mitt Romney during his campaign, ended his campaign with an endorsement for Romney and a plea for a return to civility in political discourse.
“This race has degenerated into an onslaught of negative and personal attacks not worthy of the American people, and not worthy of this critical time in our nation’s history,” Huntsman said.
“The current toxic form of our political discourse does not help our cause,” he added later on in his remarks.
Speaking about his campaign, Huntsman said he had joined the race as a candidate “with the longest of long shots.”
After announcing he had suspended his campaign, Huntsman briefly endorsed Romney, citing his electability but refraining from effusive praise.
“I believe it is now time for our party to unite around the candidate best equipped to defeat Barack Obama,” Huntsman said. “Despite our differences and the space between us on some of the issues, I believe that candidate is Mitt Romney.”
So far, the Romney campaign has not issued a statement or formally acknowledged Huntsman’s endorsement.
UPDATE: Mitt Romney tweets an acknowledgement: “I salute Jon Huntsman & his wife Mary Kaye. He ran a campaign based on unity not division, & love of country. I appreciate his support.”