Eric Cantor steps down as House majority leader

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Eric Cantor steps down as House majority leader
UNITED STATES - JULY 31: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., makes his way to the House floor in the Capitol on his last day as leader, July 31, 2014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., is surrounded by his staff as he walks to the House chamber for votes, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, July 30, 2014. As a result of his stunning primary defeat in the Virginia primary in June, Cantor will relinquish his leadership post tomorrow as Congress leaves for a five week recess. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va., left, arrives for a House Republican strategy session on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. As a result of his defeat in the Virginia primary, Cantor will relinquish his leadership post at the end of the week. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va., speaks during a ceremony to posthumously present a Congressional Gold Medal to Raoul Wallenberg in honor of his heroism during the Holocaust, Wednesday, July 9, 2014, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Wallenberg's work as Sweden's envoy in Budapest in 1944 was a cover for a humanitarian mission as secret emissary of the U.S. War Refugee Board, created in an attempt to stem the annihilation of Europe's Jews. He saved at least 20,000 Jews in Budapest by giving them Swedish travel documents or moving them to safe houses and is also credited with dissuading German officers from massacring the 70,000 inhabitants of the city's ghetto. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Outgoing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va., arrives for a Republican Conference meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 18, 2014, as candidates for House GOP leadership posts make their pitches to the rank-and-file in the tumultuous aftermath of Cantor’s sudden loss last week in his Virginia primary race. Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, is the strong favorite to become the new majority leader, if he staves off a longshot challenge from conservative Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Outgoing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va., arrives for a Republican Conference meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 18, 2014, as candidates for House GOP leadership posts make their pitches to the rank-and-file in the tumultuous aftermath of Cantor’s sudden loss last week in his Virginia primary race. Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, is the strong favorite to become the new majority leader, if he staves off a longshot challenge from conservative Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., arrives for a fundraiser for Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Pa., at the Duquesne Club in Pittsburgh on Friday, June 13, 2014. Cantor was defeated by his tea party-backed conservative opponent, David Brat, in Virginia's Republican primary on June 10. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., leaves a news conference after telling reporters he intends to resign his leadership post at the end of July following his defeat in the Virginia primary Tuesday, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, June 11, 2014. Cantor lost to tea party challenger David Brat, who campaigned in opposition of loosening immigration laws. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Following his defeat in the Virginia primary Tuesday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., tells reporters he intends to resign his leadership post at the end of July, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, June 11, 2014. Cantor lost to tea party challenger David Brat, who campaigned in opposition of loosening immigration laws. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., leaves a news conference after telling reporters he intends to resign his leadership post at the end of July following his defeat in the Virginia primary Tuesday, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, June 11, 2014. Cantor lost to tea party challenger David Brat, who campaigned in opposition of loosening immigration laws. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va. speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 11, 2014, after a House Republican caucus meeting. Repudiated at the polls, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor intends to resign his leadership post at the end of next month, officials said Wednesday, clearing the way for a potentially disruptive Republican shake-up just before midterm elections with control of Congress at stake. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va. arrives for a House Republican caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 11, 2014. Repudiated at the polls, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor intends to resign his leadership post at the end of next month, officials said Wednesday, clearing the way for a potentially disruptive Republican shake-up just before midterm elections with control of Congress at stake. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
FILE - This June 10, 2014 file photo shows House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va., listening at right as House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Anticipating a swift shake-up in their leadership, House Republicans jockeyed for position on Wednesday after Cantor's stunning primary defeat to an underfunded and unknown political newcomer. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
Congressman Eric Cantor, R-Va., stands beside his wife Diana, left, and delivers a concession speech at his election night party in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, June 10, 2014. Cantor lost the GOP primary to tea party candidate Dave Brat. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
UNITED STATES - JULY 31: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., walks to the House floor to deliver his final speech as Majority Leader on Thursday, July 31, 2014. After losing his primary election, Cantor resigned as House Majority Leader effective July 31, 2014.(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
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By ALAN FRAM

WASHINGTON (AP) - Rep. Eric Cantor used his farewell as House majority leader Thursday to lament what he calls a diminished U.S. role in a world that he said is rife with instability and terror.

"I shudder to think what the world looks like in five years for us and our allies if we don't steel our resolve and stand tall with those who stand with us," said Cantor, R-Va.

Though he did not mention President Barack Obama by name, Cantor's remarks seemed aimed at his administration's foreign policy. He mentioned problems in the Middle East and tensions with Iran and Russia and said the U.S. must "make leadership abroad a priority."

Cantor spoke to the entire House for 10 minutes on his final day as No. 2 House GOP leader.

Cantor was unexpectedly defeated by an underfunded, tea party backed opponent in his Republican primary in June. He immediately announced he would step down as majority leader at the end of July.

Cantor, 51, is a seven-term House veteran who before his defeat had been seen as a potential rival - and likely successor - to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. Though he had a conservative voting record, he was distrusted by some tea party supporters who suspected he might be too eager to reach compromise on immigration legislation.

Cantor also said Friday that improving educational opportunity for low-income children is "the civil rights issue of our time."

After his speech, Cantor received a standing ovation from members of both parties and shared a hug with the No. 2 House Democrat, Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland.

Cantor has said he will serve out his House term, which ends in January.

He is being replaced as majority leader by Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who has been a close ally.

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