Romney Backs McCain

BOSTON (AP) _ Mitt Romney is asking his Republican convention delegates to back a new man: John McCain.

Romney endorsed his former rival for president in Boston Thursday afternoon. With the Arizona senator by his side, Romney said even when the competition was at its fiercest, "the caliber of the man was apparent."

Romney collected 280 delegates in the early primaries and caucuses. Should they heed Romney's call, that would put McCain close to the nearly 1,200 delegates he needs to secure the nomination. McCain began the day with 843. Mike Huckabee has 242.

Over the past year, Romney has portrayed McCain as outside of the GOP's conservative mainstream and a Washington insider who has contributed to a broken system. Thursday, he says it's time for the
Republican party to "come together."

But speaking to a crowd in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, Mike Huckabee says he's not ready to be a part of McCain's "coronation" yet.

Reacting to Romney's endorsement, Huckabee said that there seemed
to be a "me, too" crowd coming together for McCain. But Huckabee says he is not ready to bow out of the race.

Huckabee has proven to have strong appeal to evangelical conservatives, which allowed him to win several southern states and give McCain a scare earlier this week in Virginia.


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