''If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or (Barack) Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror,'' Romney planned to say in a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference.
''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. If this were only about me, I would go on. But I entered this race because I love America, and because I love America, I feel I must now stand aside, for our party and for our country.''
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Marc Ambinder is a senior fellow at the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy.