(POLITICO) Seeking the presidency at 68, Newt Gingrich envisioned himself as a latter-day Churchill, returning triumphantly from the political wilderness to lead his country at an hour of peril.

He got part of the story right. His White House bid had all the makings of an improbable comeback, but it’s now coming to a far more ignominious end than he imagined, a finish that risks tarnishing his political legacy.

Instead of bowing out after a string of losses, the former House speaker has decided to cap off a historic career by spending the final weeks of the campaign in a sort of political purgatory — he’ll remain in the race but as something less than a full-fledged candidate.

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