Mitt Romney has suspended his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. The move effectively cedes the GOP nomination to John McCain.
He made the announcement in his midday speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C.
Romney told the Conservative Political Action Committee that if he continues with his campaign all the way to the convention, it would delay the launch of a national campaign, and make it more likely for Hillary Rodham Clinton or Barack Obama to win.
Romney, in his prepared remarks, says it wasn't an easy decision. But he says, "I feel I must now stand aside, for our party and for our country."
Romney would need to win 80% of the remaining delegates to secure the nomination, after pouring millions of dollars of his own money into his campaign and a less than stellar showing on Super Tuesday.
Suspending his campaign allows Romney to keep the delegates he already has and stay on the ballot in the remaining primaries, but saves him the cost and time of more campaigning.
Cathryn Khalil, reporting. firstname.lastname@example.org.