(CNN) – Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney released a statement shortly after opponent Rick Santorum announced a suspension to his campaign on Tuesday, praising Santorum for his presidential bid.
"Senator Santorum is an able and worthy competitor, and I congratulate him on the campaign he ran. He has proven himself to be an important voice in our party and in the nation. We both recognize that what is most important is putting the failures of the last three years behind us and setting America back on the path to prosperity," Romney said in the statement.
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Santorum spoke to Romney prior to his announcement Tuesday, according to a Republican source, but did not mention Romney in his speech.
An endorsement of Romney, however, "is not a inevitability," Santorum's spokesman Hogan Gidley told CNN.
He added Romney's campaign reached out to Santorum's team to schedule a meeting and discuss a possible endorsement.
"Mitt would like it to happen sooner rather than later," Gidley said.
– CNN Anchor Ashleigh Banfield contributed to this report.