Boehner endorses Romney, pledges to do "everything" he can to help

FILE - In this March 29, 2012 file photo, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Boehner has finally endorsed Mitt Romney to be the Republican presidential nominee, saying his economic policies would help Americans find jobs. The Ohio Republican told reporters Tuesday that Romney File,AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

John Boehner
File,AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Updated 3 p.m. ET

(CBS News) House Speaker John Boehner finally got into the 2012 presidential race today, saying he will be "proud to support Mitt Romney and do everything I can to help him win."

In response to a question from CBS News as to whether the speaker would finally endorse Romney, Boehner said that "it's clear now that Mitt Romney is going to be our nominee."

He added that as chairman of the GOP convention, he had not wanted to endorse before now to give the candidates a "fair process and a fair opportunity."

A GOP aide with knowledge of plans going forward says that Boehner's main focus will continue to be House races, but that there certainly will be discussions over the weeks ahead with the Romney campaign about how the two sides can work together. The aide said there are currently no plans in the works for Boehner to join Romney on the trail.

Boehner's stock answer to Capitol Hill reporters throughout the GOP campaign has been that he's so focused on being speaker of the House and the congressional agenda to get into presidential politics. Endorsing for Boehner was also awkward since he served in the House with three of the last-standing Romney rivals. But the speaker clearly feels politically safe now that Sen. Rick Santorum is out of the race, leaving just former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas.

Boehner said today that he thinks Romney "has a set of economic policies that can put Americans back to work and frankly contrast sharply with the failed economic policies of President Obama."

The Romney campaign did not immediately respond to a CBS News for comment, but Romney did Tweet that he was "grateful" for Boehner's support.

  • Jill Jackson On Twitter»

    Jill Jackson is a CBS News senior political producer.

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