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McCain Gets Romney's Backing, Edwards Remains Mum

Mitt Romney plans to endorse John McCain as the Republican nominee for president this afternoon while speculation continues about which Democrat will get the delegates of former North Carolina senator John Edwards.

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Republican campaign dropout Mitt Romney agreed Thursday to endorse Sen. John McCain for the party's presidential nomination and ask his national convention delegates to swing behind the party front-runner, according to officials familiar with the decision.

Romney collected 280 delegates during his run through the early primaries and caucuses, more than enough to put McCain over the 1,191 needed to clinch the nomination.

The officials who disclosed Romney's plans did so on condition of anonymity because the formal announcement is expected later in the day.

Officials said the former Massachusetts governor made his decision to back McCain earlier in the day, citing a desire to help the Arizona senator wrap up the nomination before too much more time passed.

McCain is on a steady march toward amassing the 1,191 delegates he needs, but his sole remaining rival, Mike Huckabee, has proven an unexpectedly durable challenger. Huckabee defeated McCain in two out of three states that chose delegates last weekend, and ran a far stronger race than expected before losing the Virginia primary on Tuesday.

McCain began the day with 843 delegates, to 242 for Huckabee.

On the other side of the aisle, speculation continues about the endorsement of former North Carolina senator John Edwards.

While Edwards adviser John Moylan said he's spoken on numerous occasions with both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, Edwards is not yet willing to say which way he will cast his vote.

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