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UPDATE: Add another one to the list: Paul Ryan endorsed Mitt Romney on Friday morning, becoming the latest in a recent string of high-profile Republicans to offer their official backing to the current GOP front-runner.
“I am convinced that Mitt Romney has the skills, the tenacity, the principles, the courage, and the integrity to do what it takes to get America back on track,” the House budget chairman said on Fox News. “I believe he is the right person for the job.”
The announcement comes at the end of a week that saw Romney snag another pair of major endorsements—from former President George H.W. Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio—and represents the latest sign that the GOP establishment is eager to see what has proved to be a hard-fought nominating season come to a close.
In addition to the national boost that Ryan’s endorsement may bring, it could also help Romney close the deal in Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin, which holds its primary on Tuesday. Recent polls show Romney leading Rick Santorum by about 7 or 8 points in the Badger State.
Thursday, March 29: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has joined Mitt Romney's endorsement parade, giving his official backing to the GOP front-runner Wednesday and calling for his Republican rivals to drop out.
NPR reports that the Tea Party-friendly freshman had pledged to stay neutral, but said a rift within the Republican Party come August would make Obama's win a sure thing. "The quicker we can get this campaign on that focus — focused on the president's record, on the alternative that we offer — the better off we're going to be as a movement but also the better off the country's going to be," Rubio said during a Fox News appearance.
Washington Post conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin points out that Rubio's push to unify the party behind Romney might also put him back in the limelight as a potential candidate for vice president.
Wednesday, March 28: Former President George H.W. Bush will officially endorse Mitt Romney for president at a campaign event in Houston on Thursday, Fox News reports.
The news is far from a surprise: Bush has previously indicated his support for the current GOP front-runner, and the former president's son, Jeb Bush, offered his own endorsement last week.
Nonetheless, it is the latest sign that the Republican establishment is rallying around Romney, who has failed to win over some skeptical conservatives this nominating season but nonetheless appears on pace to claim his party's nomination.
ABC News reminds us, however, that in the case of the younger Bush's formal endorsement, it did not stop him from offering a critique of his fellow former governor, as he did two days later when he urged Romney to "change the tone" with Latino voters, who he has sometimes alienated with his stance on immigration.