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Former President George H.W. Bush to formally back Romney

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Former President George H.W. Bush plans to endorse Mitt Romney, further urging the Republican Party to coalesce around the former Massachusetts governor's presidential campaign.

Romney spokeswoman Gail Gitcho said the two will meet Thursday in Houston. They plan to appear together and speak to reporters.

Formal backing from the 41st president shows the Republican Party is uniting behind Mr. Romney while pressure builds on challengers Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich to leave the race.

The elder Mr. Bush has offered encouraging words to Mr. Romney throughout the primary season but had yet to officially offer his support. Former first lady Barbara Bush has formally backed Mr. Romney. She recorded automated telephone calls for him during the primary in Ohio.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a son of Mr. and Mrs. Bush, endorsed Mr. Romney last week.

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