(CNN) - Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has scored the endorsement of Bob Dole, who lauded the former Massachusetts governor in an ad Sunday in Iowa's The Des Moines Register newspaper.
The public endorsement comes one day after the Register - Iowa's largest newspaper - backed Romney in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination and just over two weeks before Iowa's critical presidential caucuses on January 3.
In his advertisement, Dole said Romney is the GOP candidate is best suited to defeat President Barack Obama in 2012.
"I've known Mitt and his family for decades. His parents instilled in him a strong work ethic, rock-solid conservative values, and a deep sense of service to others," the former Kansas senator and 1996 GOP presidential nominee wrote. "These traits - which have shone through in both the debates and in my own visits with him - will serve him well in the White House."
Dole also said Romney "rescued a flailing Winter Olympics when it was mired in financial scandal." And as governor of Massachusetts, Dole wrote, Romney "managed to both balance the state's budget and cut taxes while dealing with an overwhelmingly Democratic state legislature."
The Register's editorial board said Romney was the most qualified candidate competing in the caucuses.
While the paper didn't endorse Romney during his last run for president in 2007, the editorial board said voters now face a different GOP field and Romney "has matured as a candidate."
"Rebuilding the economy is the nation's top priority, and Romney makes the best case among the Republicans that he could do that," the editorial board wrote.
The board hailed Romney for his "solid credentials," saying he was the most likely candidate to see through "knee-jerk, ideological" perspectives and "bridge the political divide in Washington."
Taking issue with the two other top-tier candidates, the paper claimed Romney stood out against former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, whom the board called "an undisciplined partisan who would alienate, not unite, if he reverts to mean-spirited attacks on display as House speaker."
It also criticized Texas Rep. Ron Paul as someone with a libertarian ideology that would "lead to economic chaos and isolationism."
Also significant, the board somewhat defended Romney against a line of attack taken by opponents who criticize him as a "flip-flopper."
"Though Romney has tended to adapt some positions to different times and places, he is hardly unique. It should be possible for a politician to say, 'I was wrong, and I have changed my mind'," the paper wrote.
But the paper still reserved questions over his changing tune on issues such as abortion and said it was up to the voters to decide "whether such subtly nuanced statements express Romney's true beliefs or if he's trying to have it both ways."
While the paper's endorsement is highly coveted, it does not necessarily spell success for a candidate.
In the last election cycle, the paper endorsed GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who didn't actively campaign in the state and took third place in the caucuses, while former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee pulled off a surprise victory.
The newspaper has long endorsed candidates for the general presidential election, but it began making endorsements for the caucuses in 1988.
Since then, three of its choices went on to win the contest: Dole in 1996 and 1988 and then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush in 2000.
In addition, three endorsees eventually secured the Republican nomination: Dole in 1996, Bush in 2000 and McCain in 2008.
Only one of its chosen candidates – Bush in 2000 – went on to win the White House.
According to an American Research Group poll taken Dec. 8-11, Romney placed second in the Hawkeye State with 17% of support among likely caucus voters, while Gingrich took first with 22%. Paul tied with Romney at 17%
On Friday, Romney garnered a nod from South Carolina Republican Gov. Nikki Haley. South Carolina's primary, set for January 21, is the first presidential contest in the South and the third overall in the early voting season.
– CNN's Robert Yoon, Peter Hamby, Oliver Janney and Chris Welch contributed to this report.
He has never voted to raise taxes.
He has never voted for an unbalanced budget.
He has never voted for a federal restriction on gun ownership.
He has never voted to raise congressional pay.
He has never taken a government-paid junket.
He has never voted to increase the power of the executive branch.
He voted against the Patriot Act.
He voted against regulating the Internet.
He voted against the Iraq war.
He does not participate in the lucrative congressional pension program.
He returns a portion of his annual congressional office budget to the U.S. treasury every year.
Romney is a salesman at best. He came to mass and said he was for gay marriage and women's abortion rights so he could get elected in my beautiful liberal state and ruin it. I am happy to report now that we are back under democratic leadership again our unemployment rate has dropped to 7%. Thank you Deval Patrick.
How about Jessee Helms, Goldwater? No wonder, we need Term-Limits on Congress and Senate....Jesus.....
Bob Dole who? Oh . . . The penile erectile dysfunction Dole. The senile Dole. (I can't stop laughing) The Republican party, what a waste!. This is all they got? Where is Colin Powell? If you can get his endorsement, you may have something.
How much he pays you for that endorsement
There is no easy choice for GOP. If they choose Romney they will lose the support from Latinos (very crucial block), and if they choose Gingrich, they will lose Independents. They need to drop both and look for someone else!
Bob Dole.....really???? About as relevant as Niki Haley, Chris Christie & who was the other guy..Dan Quayle. Nobody Caaaaares, Romney. You are a weak, weak, weak candidate with no business being anywhere near the oval office.
Binkley, delusional much? Flipper is Karl Rove's puppet he using for the neocons to reassert control of the party. Flipper is a 1%er beholden to the hidden elites who care only for the greedy and not the needy. Flipper has nothing of value to offer average Americans struggling to cope in the economy Flipper and his elitist buddies destroyed.
I can hear republican’s party establishment scream “Please every one get into Romney Bus the primary is going crazy”
2008 Demarcates made same mistake this year republicans ignoring Jon Huntsman
Obama's billion dollar campaign war chest will never hide the fact that his record is abysmal! Romney WILL put our Nation back on track. Just wait and see!!!
I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. ~Mahatma Gandhi
Romney is good. But Newt's position on immigration is reality-based and more compassionate.He has ignited a powerful discussion on activist judges as well. Those are positions that reveal the heart and soul and intellect of a potentially great president in the mold of a Churchill-like figure.
As a christian the only candidate that represents my values is Ron Paul. I do practice tolerance to all religions but it is painful to see all the morman and jewish candidates in the republican primary. Jesus tells me straight up to turn the other cheek and these people don't believe in this. If Ron Paul doesn't win I will continue to pray that one day my christian values will spread to other religions and people.
The Kochs and Rove have spoken, the anointed one is the king of flip flop, Mittens.
President Obama has a stellar record to run on, unlike the leadership records of Mittens or of Newt. Mitt couldn't even get the Monday morning quarterback Fox talking points correct on Libya. Mittens is not a job creator, and is not even liked by the majority of his own party. Mittens is a foreign policy moron, a puppet for the Kochs, Rove, and Wall Street, and serial liar.
The Kochs, Rove, and foreign interests have well over a billion dollars to spread their lies on foreign owned media.