Hastert: Republican primary is like a 'circular firing squad'

The Republican presidential primary is badly hurting the candidates and will drag on for some time despite Mitt Romney's solid win in Illinois, according to former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.).

"I call it a circular firing squad — they're killing each other," Hastert, a Romney backer, told The Hill on Wednesday. "The Democrats are cheering with great glee every time someone puts a score on someone else on a campaign issue and knocks down their ratings."

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Hastert said while he hoped the primary would end soon, he didn't see a way it would.

"This thing can straggle on," he said. "In Louisiana, who knows how the ballots come out? When the big states like Pennsylvania and California start coming in you’re going to see Romney wrap this up, but probably not before then."

Hastert spoke to The Hill before it was widely known that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) had endorsed Romney, and it is unclear whether he knew about the endorsement. But he warned that it's time for the party to coalesce around Romney, who he called the "only one person" of the four candidates who could win the general election against President Obama.

"We're killing ourselves," he said. "We have to stop this nonsense and move on."

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