(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.
"Trickle down Economics" is now "Trickle Up and out of the Country Economics" as the rich get richer and American jobs are outsourced. Romney knows this but turns a blind eye to it. Romney accepts high unemployment as a reality in a Global economy because it is more profitable for business. But Globalism's effects on the Nation and its people must be questioned. Humanity suffers when their are not enough jobs. It is destructive to the people of a nation and a potential root cause of decay. When the rules of business in a global economy circumvent national needs, then changes are needed. Outsourced jobs are not being replaced as Republicans and business people say they will be. Every country needs jobs, and jobs for your nation come first. Jobs are more important than the economy. In an environment of Outsourcing, Economy and Jobs are not the same. Romney knows this and that is why he says the Economy is the most important. He won't produce jobs
Why are we paying any attention to another Bush? Haven't we learned anything yet?
Why on earth would we elect men who dont believe in our goverment to run our goverment. If you want real men and women to represent you. Please elect statesman. Not business men. Our goverment is not a business. It is and still is the same thing I taught in high school goverment. A checks and balance system. Not a my way or the highway corporation!
Obama 2012. Check mate!
From one corrupt political dynasty to another. Ruining things is the family business of the Bushes and the Romneys. Who would have expected anything different?
A fiscal conservative? Ahm, and this is based on what? Has Jeb even looked at Romney's record? Mass came 47th in job creation when he was Governor, he increased taxes literally hundreds of times in tiny four years, increased the size of government – Romneycare's a good example, I mean, you wanna endorse this whatever it is, that's fine. But at least don't use words like "conservative" especially right next to "fiscal." Funny how these people set themselves up, I hope Jeb isn't planning on running himself in a future, or Chris Christy for that matter..
Bush is endorsing Romney? God, please the United States of America. Isn't it that another Bush lead us to this economic mess. Ayayayayayayayayayayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.................
"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." – you're not alone, according to polling endorsements don't really change anything, the only one that is quoted as meaningful in the last decades was Oprah picking O over H in 2008. But that's a very different cup of tea in this race obsessed nation..
He's a Bush, who cares. Let's not forget the Tea Party rose up by Conservatives, Republican
and Democrats as well as Independents over the spending and growth of government during
the easily forgetable Bush Administrations!
better late than never Jeb. Romney is taking control of the nomination is showing how clearly he is the best candidate to take on this inept President!! Romney has enormous talent, vision, and resources to be our next President. Finally a real President!!!
So I guess the last great white hope has spoken so it is now done! Jeb Bush may not be as crazy as his brother, but he is still a Bush and the apple don't fall far from the tree! This may be a revelation to the republicans, but Reagan was not God and he is dead and gone. If the repubs rely in the bible like they claim, they should know the bible says "to worship NO man"! From the looks of it Santorum, Gingrich and Paul have no plans to drop out anytime soon, sorry Willard your Bush endorsement ain't no magic wand!
If ANYONE thinks that an endorsement from someone even remotely affiliated with that previous administration that gave us a war based on lies, hanging chads resulting in a botched selection and second term for a president who failed miserably, record spending, deficits and unemployment, a smug dictatorship that did what it wanted regardless of what Congress did, the Patriot Act while touting freedom! from every orifice, and the my-way-or-the-highway dumber-than-dirt president who couldn't read a children's book rightside up, they are sorely mistaken.
JEB? Wasn't he the actor on the Beverly Hillbillies? If so not a good endorsement...
Please, enough of the Bushies – who cares
Time to replace the clueless Ideolgous Occupying the White House.
Go Mitt.............the best !
YEPPER.....the fix an scam were in 2 yrs.ago. So you tea party hicks need to shut up, fall in line put your mormon hats an big boy pants on an call it a day.
hey Zil – Obama has increased our debt more than G Bush did!! Its a fact buddy. Obama make be a great orator but he has NO SUBSTANCE!! All the hollywood extremists can give him all the money they want, hes going down!!! ROMNEY 2012!!
A Bush endorsement for Rmney? Now we know for sure we are going back to the policies that ruined the country to profit the top 1%.
"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. "
(Don't bother, it's a decades-old lie.)
Haven't we had enough of Bush family interference in this country? This is the only family that has used influence to have father and son in Presidency of the US as well as Governor of Texas while the other brother is a Governor of Florida. What does that look like? Grandfather Bush I was VP as well. How is it that one family can have that much influence over our political system? We go around the world teaching other nations to not let one family rule in middle east and don't become a ruler. But we do the opposite at home.
As an Independent voter I'll be voting for whom ever the person is that's running against Obama.
An endorsement from any Bush is a bad, bad thing to any candidate considering the damage done by that clown and his puppeteers' buffoonery and the damage done by them to this country and its previously good reputation around the world. I mean, really. Let's get real, here... This man helped steal Bush's second term. The GOP simply cannot be trusted thanks to Bush's shenanigans and it will be a cold day in H E double hockey sticks when another one will sit in the Oval Office.
It is definately time for the country to unite, but not behind these closet facists. The republicans have not put forth one candidate that is a better choice than President Obama.
send it back mitt, allen and mpepper , both of you are talking out of your A, because your mout know better.
Unite behind who? No appealing or unifying cnadidate in the field. Better to let it go all the way to a brokered convention. Great August TV drama, a political slugfest.
@Rick from Florida. – Like Obama. He is the "Its my way or the highway" I am sick and tired completely of people like you. Please learn history and put things together. Like they say. "Those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Nothing in government is ever going to be perfect, NEVER. But the system that built America is what needs to remain in order to not repeat the bad pasts of history of other nations.