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GOP Senate Leader McConnell endorses Romney

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April 17, 2012 04:44 PM EST | AP

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WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has offered a belated endorsement of Mitt Romney for the GOP presidential nomination.

McConnell told reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday that he personally supports the former Massachusetts governor and expects him to be the nominee. The endorsement comes a week after Rick Santorum, Romney's chief opponent, suspended his campaign.

McConnell predicted a close race between Romney and President Barack Obama and urged Republicans to rally around Romney.

McConnell announced his endorsement hours after House Speaker John Boehner went public with his decision to also back Romney.