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Bush endorsement leaves Romney focused on November

The Republican Party appears to be moving out of its primary fight to begin girding for a Romney-Obama matchup in the general election.

Mitt Romney works a crowd in San Diego on March 26.

Steven Senne/AP

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After a three-month struggle, Mitt Romney edged into the mop-up phase of the race for the Republican presidential nomination on Wednesday, buoyed by Newt Gingrich's decision to scale back his campaign to the vanishing point and Rick Santorum's statement that he would take the No. 2 spot on the party ticket in the fall.

Romney campaigned by phone for support in next week's Wisconsin primary while he shuttled from California to Texas on a fundraising trip, praising Gov. Scott Walker, for "trying to rein in the excesses that have permeated the public services union." The governor faces a recall election in June after winning passage of state legislation vehemently opposed by organized labor.

Romney aides eagerly spread the word that former President George H.W. Bush would bestow a formal endorsement on Thursday, although they declined to say whether former President George W. Bush has been asked for a public show of support. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a tea party favorite who had been neutral in the race, endorsed Romney Wednesday night, saying it was clear that he would be the nominee and that the primary fight should end.

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