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Rallying behind Romney

"Rallying behind Romney" Continued...

"It's time for Wisconsin to do what I did the other day in Sheboygan," Santorum said this week in a speech in Sparta, Wis. "Not just bowl one strike, not just bowl two strikes, but to bowl three strikes in a row and knock Obama out of the game by electing Rick Santorum."

Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich, who met privately with Romney to discuss the race before the Louisiana primary last Saturday in New Orleans, continues to fall further behind, announcing this week that he would lay off a third of his staff and reduce his campaign schedule.

Sheldon Adelson, the casino powerbroker who has poured more than $15 million into a pro-Gingrich super PAC, even acknowledged Wednesday that Gingrich is "at the end of his line."

But as top conservative lawmakers spent the week opposing a contested convention, the biggest signal that the GOP nominating fight might be entering its final stage may have been Gingrich's and Santorum's responses when asked if they would accept the vice presidential slot.

"I wouldn't say, no," Gingrich said.

"Of course," Santorum said.

It's doubtful that either candidate would have given such an answer several weeks ago.

UPDATE: On Friday, Mitt Romney nabbed another high-profile endorsement: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the influential House Budget Committee chairman, is backing Romney just ahead of Wisconsin's key primary on Tuesday.

Like other lawmakers, Ryan suggested that the primary is "entering a phase where it's counterproductive if it drags on much longer."

Edward Lee Pitts
Edward Lee Pitts

Lee is WORLD's Washington Bureau chief. As a reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, he was embedded with a National Guard unit in Iraq. He also once worked in the press office of Sen. Lamar Alexander.

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