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Marco Rubio Endorses Mitt Romney

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"Romney has earned the nomination."

FILE - In this Aug. 23, 2011 file photo, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. Rubio is fighting allegations that he embellished his family's history by saying his parents were Cuban exiles. His parents emigrated to the U.S. in 1956, three years before Fidel Castro took power. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida endorsed Mitt Romney as the party's presidential nominee Wednesday night, saying it's increasingly clear that Romney will win the nomination and that continuing the primary fight will only damage the effort to defeat President Barack Obama.

Rubio, a freshman senator and tea party favorite, said he's convinced that Romney will govern as a conservative and will be superior to Obama as a president.

"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 an interview with Fox News.

Rubio had pledged to stay neutral in the race. On Wednesday he called a floor fight over the nomination at the party convention in August "a recipe to deliver four more years to Barack Obama."

Rubio's endorsement followed that of former Florida Gov. Jeff Bush and came a day before former President George H.W. Bush was to back Romney, another sign that more and more party leaders are falling in line behind Romney rather than support rivals Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich or Ron Paul. Gingrich has scaled back his campaign, saying he wants to focus on winning the nomination at the convention if Romney fails to win enough delegates during the primary race.

Rubio has been mentioned as a potential running mate on the GOP ticket. He told Fox News that his heart, mind and focus remain on the Senate and that he doubts he would be asked to join a Romney ticket.

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