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Mike Huckabee Concedes S.C.

Mike Huckabee acknowledges the crowd with his wife Janet after coming in second in the South Carolina primary. (AP).

By Michael D. Shear
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee conceded to rival Sen. John McCain after coming in second in the South Carolina Republican primary Saturday, but urged his supporters not to give up on a campaign that he said will continue onto Florida and the primary states beyond.

"We didn't lose tonight. The game ended a little early for us," Huckabee said to cheering supporters, after calling McCain to congratulate him. "The path to the White House is not ending here tonight. We're resetting the clock...We have learned and tomorrow, after a little bit of sleep, we wake up to fight the battle yet again and yet again."

Huckabee sounded many of the populist themes that he has been voicing for months, saying that people in South Carolina had connected with the message of Huckabee's unconventional Republican campaign.

"What we had was, we had a message that has connected and continues to connect with people all over this country, who have feared that they have been forgotten and become invisible," Huckabee said.

Huckabee praised McCain for running what he called "a civil and a decent and a good campaign" and said he had no regrets about the way his own race was run in South Carolina.

His comments were a veiled slap at former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who clashed with Huckabee over negative campaigning in the last several months.

Of McCain, Huckabee said: "The two of us, who finished at the top, ran a campaign with a level of civility, without attacking each other. I had rather be where I am and had done it with honor, than to have won with the dishonor of attacking someone else."

"Politics, particularly this year, is a process," he told the crowd, "and that process is far, far from over."

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 19, 2008; 10:01 PM ET
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