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Santorum says he'll back whoever wins GOP nomination

WEST MONROE, La. -- Facing heightened pressure to revive his presidential bid, Rick Santorum had to explain an apparent misstep as he courted Louisiana voters Friday, the eve of a crucial contest in a Republican nomination battle that increasingly favors Mitt Romney.

Santorum said he will support the eventual GOP nominee -- if it isn't him -- despite what he says are similarities between Romney and President Barack Obama that make them indistinguishable on some issues.

Santorum caused a GOP uproar this week by suggesting he'd prefer a second term for Obama over a Romney presidency.

"I've said repeatedly and will continue to say, 'I'll vote for whoever the Republican nominee is, and I will work for him,'" Santorum said as he retreated from his original comments less than 24 hours before Louisiana polls were set to open.

"Barack Obama is a disaster, but we can't have someone who agrees with him on some of the biggest issues of the day."

The situation underscored Santorum's challenges ahead of a Louisiana contest that he's favored to win. Santorum has had success in the South, with wins last week in Alabama and Mississippi.

Regardless of the outcome today, Romney will have collected more delegates than his opponents combined as the race turns to more favorable territory in coming weeks.

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