MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Retired Gen. Wesley Clark (search) will drop out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, Fox News has confirmed.
"General Clark has decided to leave the race. He will be making an announcement tomorrow in Little Rock," Matt Bennett, director of communications for the Clark campaign, told reporters after the Tuesday primaries.
John Kerry (search), who has won 12 of the 2 primary/caucus contests so far, said Clark ran a campaign that "he and his family can be proud of."
"He reminded Democrats of the importance of national security as we face a wartime president who has run a reckless foreign policy," Kerry said in a statement. "He will no doubt continue to contribute to the life of our party and our country. We look forward to working with him in the months ahead to defeat George Bush and bring change to America."
Clark's formal announcement from his hometown in Arkansas will come at 3 p.m. EST, sources told Fox News. Clark will pledge to work closely with the Democratic Party to support the nominee and other candidates across the country, an adviser told The Associated Press.
The novice politician, who had hoped to cash in on his Southern roots, saw a round of disappointing third-place primary returns on Tuesday in Virginia and Tennessee. Campaign aides, who had not been paid for more than a week, said after the primary results that they were packing their bags and going home.
Sources told Fox News that Clark lacked the funds to advertise aggressively in next week's Wisconsin primary (search), and aides said they would have had to camp out in Wisconsin for lack of travel money.
Clark, 59, entered the race in September, a late start for a neophyte campaigner, but he quickly rose in the polls, appealing to Democrats and others considering an alternative to President Bush. He decided to skip the Iowa caucuses to focus all of his efforts on New Hampshire.
In appealing to voters, Clark relied almost entirely on his 34 years in military service, which included serving as Supreme Allied Commander (search) of NATO. He promoted his wartime record, from being wounded in Vietnam in 1970 to running the bombing campaign in the war in Kosovo in 1999, as the kind of experience needed with American soldiers in Iraq and concerns about security at home.
Supporters touted other qualities — his southern roots and his status as a Washington outsider. Backers contended those attributes made Clark the candidate most likely to defeat Bush.
Clark's inexperience as a candidate caused him problems. On the first full day of his campaign, Clark said he probably would have voted for the Bush-backed Iraq resolution but then, a day later, insisted he never would have voted "for this war," calling it unnecessary, reckless and wrong.
"I would not have gone into Iraq in the first place," he said. "My position was that Iraq was not an imminent threat. I would have concentrated on Usama bin Laden (search)."
His supporters were left confused while his detractors grew elated. Questions about his stand on the war in Iraq never ceased.
"I bobbled the question," he later told The Associated Press. "Even Rhodes scholars make mistakes."
Still, Clark won Oklahoma's primary, finished second in Arizona, New Mexico, North Dakota, shining a light on what Democrats' believe is Bush's vulnerability on foreign policy.
The retired general made it clear before he entered the race that part of his lengthy deliberation about running or not was concern about his personal finances. For a latecomer, Clark had enormous fund-raising success, raising nearly $15 million in 2003 and starting January with at least $10 million left and the prospect of raising nearly $1 million per week as the first elections neared.
But even after his decent showings last week, Clark's financing could not keep up with his ambitions. Aides told Fox News that part of his decision to quit was to keep his family out of debt following a losing endeavor. Senior staff added that they cannot afford to continue to travel around the country for a man who cannot win the nomination.
Fox News' Carl Cameron and The Associated Press contributed to this report.