Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson makes a campaign stop in Greenville, S.C., last month. (AP)
NAPLES, Fla. (AP) -- U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee says Fred Thompson made a "valiant, purposeful effort" for the White House.
Thompson dropped out of the Republican presidential race Tuesday after faring poorly in early primary and caucus states.
Thompson, an actor and former senator, said in a statement Tuesday that he hoped his country and his party benefitted from his effort.
Last Saturday in the South Carolina primary, he finished third in a state that he had said he needed to win.
In the statement, Thompson did not say whether he would endorse any of his former rivals.
Thompson is the latest Tennessee Republican who couldn't translate statewide support into national success.
There were unsuccessful bids for the presidency by former Sen. Howard Baker in 1980 and by Alexander in 1996 and 2000.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)