Bush 41 carefully backs Romney
Romney shakes hands with Bush at The George Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University on Dec. 7, 2007.
December 22nd, 2011
03:08 PM ET
10 years ago

Bush 41 carefully backs Romney

(CNN) - Mitt Romney had "no idea" George H.W. Bush was going to publicly support his bid for the White House Thursday, saying at an event in New Hampshire the backing from the former president meant more personally than it did politically.

"I had no idea that was coming," Romney said, adding he thought of Bush as a "hero."

Romney's comments came after Bush told the Houston Chronicle the former Massachusetts governor was the "best choice" for the 2012 Republican nomination.

The Texas newspaper noted Bush's support did not constitute an official endorsement. Bush and his family live in the state of another presidential hopeful, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, complicating the notion of a full-scale endorsement.

In the interview with the Chronicle, Bush explained why he wasn't backing Perry.

"I like Perry, but he doesn't seem to be going anywhere; he's not surging forward," Bush said.

He also added: "I've got to be a little careful, because I like Perry; he's our governor."

Bush praised Romney's "stability, experience, principles," saying the candidate was more even-keeled than his competition.

"I just think he's mature and reasonable – not a bomb-thrower."

Bush met with Romney as recently as the beginning of December, when the candidate visited the former president and his wife Barbara at their home near Houston. At the time, Romney aides said the trip wasn't meant to secure an endorsement, noting the two politicians were long-time friends.

On Thursday, Romney's spokeswoman Andrea Saul wrote on Twitter the candidate called Bush to thank him for his support.

At his New Hampshire event, Romney said he thanked Bush "for his support, his leadership, his heroic life, and his friendship."

–CNN's Rachel Streitfeld and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President George H.W. Bush
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Perry was his first choice, but he settled on Mittens. Quite an endorsement.

    December 22, 2011 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  2. GOPisGreedOverPeople

    I wonder if Romney worships that owl statue too? Too funny. Google it.

    December 22, 2011 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    By Mittens' attack on his fellow candidates, dividing the fragmented GOP, and flip flopping like a tuna out of water, Mittens should also be endorsed by the democratic party to head the GOP ticket.

    December 22, 2011 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    No big surprise here. The only question will be whether or not Junior will endorse someone. Not who, but will he actually do it.

    December 22, 2011 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  5. Bill

    This endorsement is worth squat.

    December 22, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  6. T'sah from Virginia

    ►"I like Perry, but he doesn't seem to be going anywhere; he's not surging forward," Bush said.

    He also added: "I've got to be a little careful, because I like Perry; he's our governor."◄

    So then you "carefully" endorse Romney??? Carefully? What the hell is "carefully?" Are you going to take the endorsement back if suddenly Perry surge in the polls?? Dang, even the endorsers and endorsements FLIP-FLOP on the right.... Jeez!!!

    Obama 2012!

    December 22, 2011 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  7. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    If Jeb runs, he won't even get his Daddy's endorsement.

    December 22, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  8. TomInRochNY

    Mitt, calling Bush a "hero" just lost you the election.

    December 22, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  9. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    We need a kinder gentler candidate, but none is available, so I'll endorse Mittens. Those 1000 points of light are now being made in China, thanks to Mittens.

    December 22, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  10. vic , nashville ,tn

    "I like Perry, but he doesn't seem to be going anywhere; he's not surging forward," Bush said.
    But Mitt Romney favorable rating still at 20s his likeable rating is not going anywhere

    December 22, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  11. Tree

    This is nothing............CNN who cares

    December 22, 2011 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  12. RINO Bil

    Yes, but Bush 41 backed George W. Bush too!

    Not the kind of company with which I would like to be associated.

    December 22, 2011 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  13. Harry Wreckdom

    Well, that CERTAILY will influence which one of the Clown Car occupants I will be UNlikely to choose.........

    An endorsement like that and a buck will buy you a small cup of coffee at Dunkin' Donuts.........

    December 22, 2011 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  14. Just Saying

    Did Bush 41 endorse Bush 43? I think so. And remember how well that turned out for his. I am no great fan of Obama but the GOP crop is downright pathetic. Just Saying...

    December 22, 2011 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  15. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Read my lips, he ain't much, but I endorse him anyway.

    December 22, 2011 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  16. Woman In California

    Great. That guarantees a loss for the republican party.

    December 22, 2011 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  17. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Endorsed by person who is no longer a witch, a SC governor who is in legal trouble, and now, the father of the worst president in history, Mittens is appealing to all factions of the big tent of the GOP.

    December 22, 2011 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  18. Independent Voters

    Romney is another Bush so be careful that the republican will elect Bush over.

    December 22, 2011 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  19. Todd C

    "Mitt Romney, the son I wish I had." – George H. W. Bush

    December 22, 2011 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  20. It is Against Ronald Reagan Rule for Myth Romney and his Super PACs Thug to Attack Fellow GOPers

    Myth Romney is Karl Rove puppet just like the Bushes. what's news about this? Kiss of death!!!!

    December 22, 2011 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  21. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Rove and the Kochs have to be shaking their heads, saying, "Are we sure we are going to spend a billion dollars to get this moron elected?

    December 22, 2011 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  22. Boo

    Here it is folks...the kiss of death for Romney.

    December 22, 2011 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  23. Texas Doc

    There should be a caption contest: "You couldn't be any worse than my son."

    December 22, 2011 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    ""I just think he's mature and reasonable – not a bomb-thrower.""

    Really? Not a bomb thrower? Have you paid ANY attention to his blather on foreign policy? The guy would have us committing acts of war against Iran within the first 3 months.

    December 22, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  25. Phil in KC

    Actually, I disagree with some of the comments. I think this 'quasi-endorsement' does carry some weight – especially within his own party. He is a former president so he knows what it takes to do the job. Plus, in comparison to his son or most of the current crop of Republicans, he somewhat reasonable. Mind you, I'm still not voting for Romney, but I doubt there will ever be a Republican who could get my vote. Our stands on the issues just don't agree.

    December 22, 2011 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
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