Mitt Backs McCain, Urges Delegates to Do Same

Romney endorses former rival one week after leaving GOP race
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 14, 2008 3:49 PM CST
Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, left, answers a question as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney listens during a Republican presidential debate in Simi Valley, Calif., Wednesday,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Mitt Romney endorsed former Republican rival John McCain for president today, saying the Arizona senator “understands the war we’re in.” The former Massachusetts governor called McCain “a man who served and suffered for his country.” Romney quit the race last week, having collected 286 delegates in the nomination fight; he is "releasing" them to McCain, which means he'll encourage them to back Mac.

"Even when the contest was close and our disagreements were debated," Romney said, "the caliber of the man was apparent." Adding Romney's share would put McCain at 1,013 total delegates, only 78 shy of clinching the GOP contest, CNN reports. Despite earlier growling, McCain complimented Romney today, saying his “hard intensive fine campaign helped me become a better candidate.”