From the NY Times:
Mr. Romney, who had vowed to press on despite disappointing results in the Super Tuesday primary contests, made the announcement at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.
In a speech that touched on the messages of his campaign, Mr. Romney said he had come to his decision to help unify the Republican Party, and he charged that Democratic candidates, Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois, would not pursue the war in Iraq.
“Because I love America, in this time of war, I feel I have to stand aside for our party and our country,” he said.
Mr. Romney had hoped to use Tuesday’s results to narrow the gap between him and his chief rival, Senator John McCain of Arizona. Instead, he saw Mr. McCain widen the lead at the same time that Mr. Romney’s campaign lost ground to Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, who racked up solid gains.
Speaking before an enthusiastic crowd at the conference, hosted by the American Conservative Union, Mr. Romney said he would have preferred to continue until the Republican convention.
“You are with me all the way to the convention,” he said. “Fight on, just like Ronald Reagan did in 1976.”
But by fighting to the convention, he said, “I’d forestall the launch of a national campaign and, frankly, I’d make it easier for Senator Clinton or Obama to win.”
Are we really surprised???
Full text of his withdrawal speech here.