Former Massachusetts Governor, Republican Mitt Romney will suspend his campaign, effectively ending his run for president.

“I must now stand aside, for our party and our country,” Romney said during a speech in Washington Thursday.

The move means Senator John McCain has all but won the nomination.

Romney suffered a string of embarrassing third place defeats in the South, where he was banking on conservative votes on Super Tuesday. Instead, it was former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee who won nearly all the southern races. Huckabee still trails Romney in the delegate counts, but McCain has a commanding lead over both.

“This is not an easy decision for me. I hate to lose. My family, my friends and our supporters … many of you right here in this room … have given a great deal to get me where I have a shot at becoming President,” Romney said. “If this were only about me, I would go on. But I entered this race because I love America.”

McCain leads with 707 delegates, to 294 for Romney and 195 for Huckabee. It takes 1,191 to win the nomination at the Republican convention in St. Paul, Minn in the summer.

“I disagree with Senator McCain on a number of issues, as you know. But I agree with him on doing whatever it takes to be successful in Iraq, on finding and executing Osama bin Laden, and on eliminating al-Qaida and terror,” Romney said.

Romney has been attacked from the start for flip-flopping on a number of key conservative issues.

Going into Super Tuesday, the closest thing we have to a national primary, Romney labeled McCain as a liberal and claimed he was the clear conservative choice in the Republican Party. He was aided by conservative pundits like Rush Limbaugh, who said he would vote for Hillary Clinton if McCain was the Republican nominee.

The world waits with baited breath to see if he follows through. But a serious question remains as to whether or not McCain can rally the whole party to his cause.

Video courtesy/The Boston Globe

About The Author

John Guilfoil is the editor-in-chief of Blast: Boston's Online Magazine and the Blast Magazine Network. He can be reached at [email protected]. Tweet @johnguilfoil.

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