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Romney: Santorum Will Maintain Key Role In GOP

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney holds a town hall-style campaign event at RC Fabricators April 10, 2012 in Wilmington, Delaware. Romney spoke at the structural steel engineering company, his first remarks after the news that his closest rival, former Sen. Rick Santorum, suspended his campaign for the GOP nomination. (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney holds a town hall-style campaign event at RC Fabricators April 10, 2012 in Wilmington, Delaware. Romney spoke at the structural steel engineering company, his first remarks after the news that his closest rival, former Sen. Rick Santorum, suspended his campaign for the GOP nomination. (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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By Todd Quinones

WILMINGTON, Del. (CBS/AP) — Buoyed by what he called ‘a good day,’ Mitt Romney said he spoke to Rick Santorum Tuesday morning about his decision to quit the race.

“It’s been quite a day for me. I kind of like today. I’ve got to be honest,” Romney said.

Romney has been the front runner and had a commanding 645 to 252 delegate lead over Santorum, but still Romney during his speech Tuesday night inside the Mendenhall inn, indicated Santorum holds some amount of influence.

“He will without question remain a major spokesmen in our party, a lead in our party. He has earned that by virtue of his effort,” Romney said.

The question remains, will Santorum’s supporters come out in full force and support Romney with organizing and donating money towards his fundraising.

Santorum’s announcement in Gettysburg, Pa., didn’t include an endorsement of Romney, but the former senator from Pennsylvania said defeating Obama remained a goal.

Bill Rosenberg is a political science professor at Drexel University.

“I think we have to see Romney really solidify the base. Really come out and show he is the conservative candidate to stand up against [President] Barack Obama,” he said.

Romney seemed content to shift slowly into his new role as the largely unencumbered Republican candidate. He made his traditional attacks on President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy. His staff said he will attend scheduled events Wednesday in Rhode Island and Connecticut even though those states — like Delaware — are safely Democratic in presidential elections and therefore not contested in the fall.

Romney said Democrats are wrong to claim the GOP is waging a “war on women.” He held Tuesday’s speech at a large women-owned plant in Wilmington and said women have lost large numbers of jobs under Obama’s administration.

After his speech, he opened up for questions from the crowd, which offered one of the lighter moments of the day.

“Have you chosen a VP?” asked a woman in the crowd.

To which Romney replied, “I’m here to announce today… that I do not even have a list” over laughter.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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