updated 1/22/2004 1:57:49 PM ET 2004-01-22T18:57:49

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she will not endorse any of the remaining Democratic presidential candidate after her favored candidate, Dick Gephardt, pulled out of the race.

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“I know that there is a president in that field, and I’m just going to leave that up to the American people to decide,” said Pelosi, D-Calif.

Pelosi succeeded Gephardt as minority leader after the 2002 midterm election, in which Republicans gained seats.

Gephardt removed himself from the presidential campaign on Tuesday after a disappointing fourth-place finish in Iowa. He had won Iowa during his unsuccessful run for the nomination in 1988.

The Missouri congressman said he would serve out the final year of his 14th term in Congress. He did not endorse any of his rivals.

“He has served our country well for a very long time with great intellect, integrity and dignity,” Pelosi said. “I regret that he’s not going to be in the race. I thought he would be the best president.”

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