Road for Mitt Romney clearer with Rick Santorum departure

7:01 AM, Apr 11, 2012   |    comments
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Mitt Romney (NBC)

(NBC) -- The Republican Presidential race is short one candidate Wednesday morning.

Rick Santorum dropped out yesterday, strengthening Mitt Romney's chances of becoming the party's nominee.

Rick Santorum has suspended his campaign, giving Mitt Romney a jump on the general election.

"This has been a good day for me," said Romney.

That's Mitt Romney's first reaction to news that Rick Santorum is dropping his presidential campaign.

"He has made an important contribution to the political process," said Mitt Romney, (R) Presidential Candidate.

Santorum got a call from former president George W. Bush after publicly announcing he's calling it quits.

"While this presidential race for us is over, for me, and we will suspend our campaign effective today, we are not done fighting." Rick Santorum/ (R) Former Presidential Candidate

Last night, he was more reflective. "I really thought and still do that what's at stake in this election is our fundamental freedoms." Rick Santorum/ (R) Former Presidential Candidate

Santorum's exit leaves Romney, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich in the race.

"I'm still here and I'm still campaigning," said Newt Gingrich, (R) Presidential Candidate.

Could Gingrich pull Santorum's conservative backers and clinch the nomination? Analysts don't think so.

"He's back into single digits. It's hard to see him capturing that support that Rick Santorum left," said Tony Fratto Former. Deputy Press Secy. to President George W. Bush.

With a major obstacle now gone, Romney can focus solely on President Obama. The president is focused on boosting taxes for millionaires.

"They may call it class envy, that's just being fair," said President Barack Obama.

A sign that Romney's wealth could become a key issue this fall.

NBC

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