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But the Kentucky Republican told CNN’s “State of the Union” that it’s in the best interest of his party to coalesce around the strongest candidate to beat President Obama in November.

Republican voters will weigh in during primaries Tuesday in Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia. Mr. Romney is ahead in the polls heading into those contests.

INTERIOR

Top Indian Affairs official resigns for church post

SALT LAKE CITY — The top official for the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs is resigning to accept a full-time leadership position with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ending three years with a department that Interior Secretary Kenneth L. Salazar says “opened a new chapter” in U.S. relationships with Indian tribes.

Larry Echo Hawk, the assistant secretary of the interior for Indian affairs, is being appointed to the Quorum of the Seventy, the Mormon Church’s third-highest governing body. The announcement from the church came Saturday during its semiannual general conference in Salt Lake City.

President Obama appointed Mr. Echo Hawk, 63, to oversee the BIA in 2009.

During Mr. Echo Hawk’s tenure, the Interior Department settled a $3.4 billion class-action lawsuit with American Indian landowners over mismanaged royalties. The settlement reached in late 2009 is under appeal.

Mr. Echo Hawk, a member of the Pawnee Nation, was elected Idaho attorney general in 1990, the first American Indian to be elected to the position in any state. He ran unsuccessfully in 1994 for Idaho governor as a Democrat. He was a Brigham Young University law professor for 14 years before leading the BIA.

CAMPAIGN

Romney’s staff pulls off April Fools’ gag

MILWAUKEE — Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney may have forgotten that Sunday was April Fools’ Day.

His staff did not.

They took Mr. Romney to a room he thought was packed with supporters gathered for a pancake brunch. It was supposed to be his first campaign stop Sunday as he courted Wisconsin voters ahead of Tuesday’s primary.

Rep. Paul Ryan introduced Mr. Romney as he waited backstage. There was some cheering, but his staff told Mr. Romney not to expect a big crowd. When he walked out, the room was completely empty.

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