Edwards to quit presidential race

The former North Carolina Senator John Edwards, who focused his bid for the Democratic nomination on helping the middle class, will withdraw from the US presidential race in a speech later today.

A campaign official said Edwards would announce his decision to pull out during a speech in New Orleans .

Edwards has not won a single contest in the Democratic race for US president, and lags behind front-runners Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in public opinion polls.

The South Carolina native, a millionaire lawyer, was returning to New Orleans, where he began his campaign keyed to a theme of combating poverty in America.

The decision came shortly after Edwards lost in South Carolina to Obama and Clinton in the only state he won during his failed 2004 presidential bid.

He has lagged all year behind the two in the race for the Democratic party nomination.

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