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Boehner, McConnell endorse Romney for president

 

Updated 3:34 p.m. - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) ended his neutrality in the GOP presidential primary and formally endorsed Mitt Romney on Tuesday.

The top Republican on Capitol Hill told reporters that he was "proud" to support Romney now that it has become clear that the former Massachusetts governor would be the Republican nominee.

"It's clear now that Mitt Romney is going to be our nominee," Boehner said at a press conference. "I think Mitt Romney has a set of economic policies that can put Americans back to work and, frankly, contrast sharply with the failed economic policies of President Obama."

"I will be proud to support Mitt Romney and do everything I can to help him win," Boehner added.

Boehner had remained doggedly neutral throughout the primary, partly due to his high-profile position. Even still, many of the other members of the Republican leadership team in the House endorsed Romney. The most visible declaration arguably came from Boehner's deputy, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), who endorsed Romney shortly before Virginia's primary.

There were points, though, in the GOP primary when Romney didn't make life easier for Republican leaders on Capitol Hill, for instance his eventual opposition to the agreement to raise the debt ceiling last August.

**UPDATE**: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also chimed on Tuesday afternood, saying at a press conference, per NBC's Libby Leist:

Yeah, I support Governor Romney for president of the United States.  And he is going to be the nominee.  And as you have noticed, the party is in the process of unifying behind him.  And I think it's going to be an incredibly close, hard-fought race.  Everybody is banding -- bandying polls around, but just look at the Gallup tracking poll yesterday actually had Governor Romney with a two-point lead.  I think it's going to be a very, very competitive election.  We're all behind him and looking forward to the fall campaign, which is actually already under way.