(CNN) - Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose endorsement has been highly-sought during the 2012 GOP primary contests, announced Wednesday he was backing presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
In a statement, Bush congratulated Romney on his win in Illinois's primary, held Tuesday, and said it was "time for Republicans to unite behind Governor Romney."
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"I am endorsing Mitt Romney for our Party¹s nomination," Bush wrote. "We face huge challenges, and we need a leader who understands the economy, recognizes more government regulation is not the answer, believes in entrepreneurial capitalism and works to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to succeed."
Romney campaign senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said Bush called Romney Wednesday morning to alert him of his endorsement.
In a statement, Romney praised Bush as a unifying force.
"Jeb Bush is synonymous with good government and with conservative policies that yield results," Romney said. "He has long demonstrated an outstanding ability to bring people together. I therefore take tremendous pride in having earned his endorsement. This is a key moment in the presidential contest and Jeb’s counsel and support will be critical in the coming months in my effort to defeat Barack Obama and turn around our country."
Bush served as Florida's governor from 1999-2007, and is the son of former President George H.W. Bush. His brother is former President George W. Bush.
Jeb Bush was considered a favorite to jump into the 2012 GOP contest, but stated firmly in May 2011 he would not be a candidate for his party's presidential nomination.
Bush declined to endorse a candidate ahead of Florida's January 31 primary, saying he wanted to allow a candidate to "earn" his victory in the state.
In January, Bush told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King about the challenges Romney faced ahead of the Sunshine State's contest, suggesting the former Massachusetts governor needed to connect more personally with voters.
"His challenge is also to show his heart," Bush said of Romney "He has a great record, and he's been a successful man in every way, and I think people can relate to that if he expresses himself in the right way."
George H.W. Bush and his wife, former first lady Barbara Bush, publicly backed Romney in December, and Barbara Bush recorded robo-calls for the candidate that ran in Ohio ahead of the state's Super Tuesday contest.
George W. Bush has not yet endorsed a candidate for the 2012 GOP nomination.
Responding to news of Jeb Bush's endorsement of Romney, a spokesman for rival candidate Newt Gingrich said "It's a completion of the establishment trifecta."
R.C. Hammond was referring to Romney endorsements from George H.W. Bush, former Kansas senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole, and Jeb Bush.
CNN's Chris Welch and Peter Hamby contributed to this report.
Jeb is angling for the VP slot ...
Just when I thought Christine O'Donnell's endorsement was the kiss of death, I've been proven wrong.
Doesn't matter much to me who endorses who. Unlike some of the lemmings in this country, I don't let other people determine my vote, I actually pay attention and vote in my own best interests. Get all the enorsements you want, don't much care.
And here comes another Shrub endorsing Mittens. Where is lil' Bush? He's been awful quiet.
These GOP candidates keep talking about returning to the days of Reagan,..just how would Reagan do things now...Reagan closed all the Federal mental hospitals and sent 500,000 mentally ill men, and women, out into the streets with no place to go, no safe place to sleep, no medication for their nightmares, no food, no help....Is that what the GOP is talking about??
No more Bushes.
How can anyone consider an emdorsement from a Bush a good thing? That family has done more damage to America by it's self-serving big oil, corporate America, than anyone else. Heck, George W. got us into a stupid war, and is responsible for nearly bringing down our economic system.
Someone is busy clearing brush to deliver the kiss of death to any candidate. Jeb doesn't like to clear brush, apparently.
I think Obama still has him beat. Obama has Eva Longoria on his side.
The Bush family has "Millions of dollars in wealth" (with due respect?) Why would,nt Jeb endorse Romney??? Lower taxes for the "Rich" go figure? Obama 2012
Obama has Eva Longoria on his side.
So one pervert endorses another. Why is this news?
"..works to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to succeed..." comes out as "works to ensure that richest Americans have the opportunity to feed their greed"
So what.... Bush league endorsment of detached "financier" adds up to two birds in a bush.
Cowards. All cowards. They wait until a front runner emerges and then they endorse. How brave and principled they are...! No balls, Jebie, no balls.
Dreamer, they must mean raising taxes 11 times. Or deregulating the banks that lead to the housing bubble.
Wow big surprise! Romney will be bringing back the Bush policies. More war, deregulation and tax cuts for the rich...Republicans must have thought the Bush years were good for this country....Go figure..lol
Not another Bush the other two were horrible presidents who loved war and the wealth.
Wow Jeb Bush...You know I like Jeb Bush. Its a shame his brother has screwd him of any chance at POTUS. He's got some family baggage as well. Quiet as its kept. I beleive he just choosing the lesser if the 2 evils and 1. With that being said. I'm so tired of hearing that Mitt knows how the economy works. If thats the case he is more suited for the private sector. A zebra will never change his stirpes. I've worked for companys were raiders like Roomey hide behind the skirts of so called equity firms who build absolutely nothing! If I guy like that becomes Potus, you can best believe your counrty will look like the landscape he and his croonies have lefted in the wake. You think W. And Cheney did a number on us. They want have nothing on this self glorified money grabbing, trying to out do my daddy, flip floppong, pandering, non articulate nomad. Who the hell runs for Potus that doesnt want to pay taxes! Stop trying to elect these so called business men. If you want a Potus who doesnt beleive in the very goverment he tryong to run.
Trump and Jeb Bush...............hmmmmm, not exactly people I would want backing me.
Reagan started the country's slid into poverty and rule by oligarchs. Romney will make sure the 99% become a permanent underclass and 1% have free reign to pillage at will. Heck he may even try to create a world version ala Davos. The man is a menace to the Repubilc.
Jeb endorses Romney!
Now maybe we can get GW to endorse him too.
Poor General George Armstrong Romney, he is headed for the Little Big Horn and he just smiles.
By the way "Jeb" I don't give a manure who you like.
You are all wrong. The endorsement of good men and women is what this candidate needs. Men of integrity and strength. We are on the brink of disaster with this president and need to do an about face and head where the needs of ALL men, women, boys and girls are met. Someone might just have to roll up their sleeves and do some work instaed of living off this country. Only then can a real change be made. It is not a free ride and was never meant to be.
Mitt Romney will choose a vice president not by an endorsement but by the strength of character and dedication to this country. Not for what he can get but for what they can give. Mitt loves this nation and will do all he can to make it better. Watch out freeloaders you will be the first that he will expect to work for what you get.
Since Ricky "man on dog" Santorum nor Mitt R have no chance to win the White House on their own merit, Jeb bush could be their savior. Personally I think they should give the leader of their party a shot at VP – Rush Limbaugh. He would certainly shore up the female vote.
Funny how George W. Bush hasn't come out and campaigned for anyone, or even given out an endorsement. It's like he fell off the planet. If he was so great as he thought he was, why have we not seen nor heard from him during this entire campaign? Could it be that he himself recognizes what a big liability he would be for any candidate?