Thursday, 7 February 2008, 19:12 GMT
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has suspended his campaign for the Republican party nomination for the US presidency.
Mr Romney spent millions of dollars of his own money on the campaign, but fell well behind front-runner John McCain after Super Tuesday’s primaries.
Correspondents say his exit has in effect cleared the way for Senator McCain as Republican candidate.
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are neck-and-neck in the Democratic race.
A spokesman for Senator McCain refused to comment on his rival’s withdrawal.
He said the decision had not been an easy one.
“If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and frankly I’d be making it easier for Senator Clinton or [Barack] Obama to win,” Mr Romney said at the conference.
He added that he would continue to fight for conservative principles, which were now needed more than ever.
“I am convinced that unless America changes course, we will become the France of the 21st Century – still a great nation, but no longer the leader of the world, no longer the superpower,” he said.
…continued plus link to video
TPMtv: Mittpocalypse Now
Your Daily Politics Video Blog: The moment had to come — Mitt packs it in. But, as he explains in today’s episode of TPMtv, he’s doing it so America can win the War on Terror. Special added bonus video — Laura Ingraham goes apes–t on John McCain.