WASHINGTON -- Gary Bauer, unable to break through the pack of Republican contenders, dropped out of the presidential race today. The conservative activist said he left feeling "good about how I've moved the debate."

"This is a great country, this is a great experiment in self government," he said.Stung by his last-place finish in the New Hampshire GOP primary, Bauer became the sixth Republican to drop out of the contest. He declined to make any endorsement of the remaining candidates.

He said he would not support either front-runner George W. Bush or John McCain unless they joined him in supporting efforts to outlaw abortion or halt U.S. trade with China -- the two main issues upon which he campaigned.

"This will stick in our throats until we get it right," he said about his anti-abortion views. "On this issue I will not be moved. On this issue, I will not go away."

Bauer said Republicans should not continue supporting free trade with China until the communist nation stops building up its military and threatening Taiwan, which it considers a province.

"When we put trade with China before anything else, we are betraying who we are," Bauer said. "On this, there are members of my party who are as bad as Bill Clinton."

Bauer's departure leaves four others to battle for the nomination. In addition to the Texas governor and Arizona senator, publisher Steve Forbes and former ambassador Alan Keyes also are running for office.

On his way out of the race, Bauer thanked the voters of Iowa and New Hampshire, although he barely registered support in the caucuses and primary in those states. He dismissed critics who said the early voting states hold too much sway in winnowing the presidential field.

"They listened carefully and they did the job they were asked to do," Bauer said of voters. "I think they do a better job than anybody could be asked to do."

He said of the failure of his first presidential campaign: "It just didn't work. People seldom make it on the first round."

Bauer ran as a social conservative, denouncing abortion and gay rights, but he was competing with Forbes and Keyes for the votes of Christian conservatives and was never able to break out. He finished fourth in the Iowa caucuses Jan. 24, just ahead of McCain, who did not campaign there, and Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, who dropped out soon after.