Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) announces his endorsement of Mitt Romney on Fox… (FoxNews.com )
Paul Ryan's rationale for endorsing Mitt Romney was much the same as the one Marco Rubio offered earlier this week: Bring the GOP infighting to a close and focus on the November battle to unseat President Obama.
"I think this primary has been productive, I think it's been constructive up until now. I think it's made the candidates better. But I think we're entering a phase where it could be counterproductive if this drags on much longer," Ryan said on Fox News Channel's "Fox & Friends" Friday morning.
The Wisconsin Republican made his support public just days before his state holds what could be the final make-or-break primary of the Republican nomination battle. Maryland and the District of Columbia also vote Tuesday, but Romney and Rick Santorum are most fiercely battling in the Badger State.
Ryan becomes the latest big-name Republican to back Romney this week. Rubio, the freshman senator from Florida and a rising GOP star, endorsed him Wednesday, while former President George H. W. Bush made his support official Thursday.
Ryan said Romney was the "best person to be president" and praised his leadership on fiscal issues. Ryan is the chairman of the House Budget Committee.
"I've spent a good deal of time with Mitt Romney and his staff recently going through our country's fiscal situation, talking about just what it's going to take to get this country back on track. And I am convinced that Mitt Romney has the skills, the tenacity, the principles, the courage and the integrity to do what it takes to get America back on track," he told Fox.
Two new polls out Friday show Romney with a lead just beyond the margin of error in the Wisconsin primary. An NBC News/Marist poll has Romney leading Santorum 40-33%. A WPR/St. Norbert College poll puts Romney's lead at 37-32%.