Iconic CEOs hard to replace

Steve Jobs is expected to be a tough act to follow. Apple Inc.'s succession plan is being scrutinized as Jobs, the company's founder and chief executive, is taking medical leave through June.

Paul Sakuma

The Republican presidential contenders criss-crossed the Lowcountry on Thursday in an attempt to shore up support and capture the remaining undecided voters.

Mitt Romney met with volunteers Thursday outside his campaign headquarters in West Ashley and was joined by Gov. Nikki Haley and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

Romney took a swipe at Newt Gingrich and President Barack Obama when discussing the economy. The president delivered a speech Thursday at Disney World.

"He might bump into Speaker Gingrich down there in Fantasyland," Romney said of his closest competitor in the polls, who campaigned Thursday in Colleton and Beaufort counties.

Rick Perry called Gingrich to say he was endorsing him about an hour before announcing his withdrawal from the race. It is unclear how much Perry plans to campaign for Gingrich.

"Newt is not perfect, but who among us is?" Perry said.

Gingrich's camp hopes the move gives him a boost as conservative supporters -- previously split among him, Perry and Rick Santorum -- consolidate. Santorum picked up an endorsement Thursday from conservative Christian broadcaster James Dobson, who cited Santorum's support for what Dobson calls "the institution of the family."

At an appearance earlier in the day in Mount Pleasant, Santorum stressed his commitment to fighting abortion and defending traditional marriage. His speech was disrupted when more than a dozen gay activists tossed glitter into the air and chanted until police pushed them back.

Santorum was the only Republican presidential candidate to speak with Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, visiting South Carolina on the "Values Bus" tour. Haley spoke alongside Perkins earlier in the day.

Ron Paul found strong support Thursday at the College of Charleston, where throngs of students requested autographs and snapped pictures after he gave a speech stressing the importance of individual liberties.

Paul told hundreds of students gathered in the Stern Student Center courtyard that he would aim to cut the annual federal budget by $1 trillion. Paul told the audience, "Young people are waking up. ... They believe in liberty too."