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AP: Rick Santorum to "suspend" campaign. Mitt Romney is essentially the nominee

AP reports that Republican Rick Santorum is suspending his campaign for president, all but ensuring that the last major obstacle to Mitt Romney securing the nomination is gone. Santorum said the illness of his daughter, Bella, led him to drop out.

"We were very concerned about our role being the best parents we possibly could to our children," Santorum just said at a news conference in Pennsylvania.

But he was facing a good chance of being defeated in his homestate of Pennsyvlania, which not only would have effectively ended the campaign -- it could have ended his political career after he was blown out by 18 points as an incumbent.

Republican Newt Gingrich, who was broken by Romney in Florida, has said he plans to take his case all the way to the convention. Still, Romney is the nominee in everything but name.

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