DU PONT, BABBITT QUIT PRESIDENTIAL RACE

DU PONT, BABBITT QUIT PRESIDENTIAL RACE

The presidential campaign lost two candidates Thursday, with the decision by Delaware's Pete du Pont and Arizona's Bruce Babbitt to quit the Republican and Democratic races.

Former Delaware Gov. du Pont, on the heels of disappointing finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire, abandoned his GOP presidential bid Thursday, saying, Today our campaign lowers its flag, but our crusade continues to march.Mr. du Pont becomes the second Republican to quit the race, following the withdrawal of former Secretary of State Alexander Haig last Friday.

You have given me the opportunity of a lifetime, said Mr. du Pont.

The former Delaware governor had hoped to make himself the conservative alternative to GOP front-runners George Bush and Bob Dole, but he finished far down in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.

Meanwhile, former Arizona Gov. Babbitt became the first Democrat to quit the presidential race in 1988, declaring an end to an underdog candidacy that he called the greatest joy of my entire public life.

Mr. Babbitt told a roomful of family, supporters and reporters that he is abandoning the race in the wake of dismal showings in Iowa and New Hampshire but he is not abandoning his cause - an America that comes to grips with its future.

Mr. Babbitt said he will not yet endorse any of the six remaining Democratic contenders. They are all first-rate people and I could support any one of them, he said.

Mr. Babbitt, whose campaign was centered on economic themes including a frank call for a national sales tax, said the Democrats must give our country a compelling reason to elect us to power.

Mr. Babbitt finished fifth in Iowa last week and sixth in New Hampshire on Tuesday.