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)

    Notice the handshake. Willard will not be President. He's not a freemason as all American Presidents are.

    December 22, 2011 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  2. kevin

    GHW Bush, you just insured that President Barack Obama will have another term. Boy I do love the Republican comedy show. The first comedian was Pawlenty, he had no staying power, than came Bachmann, Her crazy animal act was terrible, and her GAY husband stole the show, then came Perry, oooooooppppppssssss, then along came Cain, Mr. I didn't touch that woman, or than woman, or that one, or that one, but I gave that one money for 13 yrs, ooooopppppssss my wife didn't know that, then we had Newt, Mr. wake up son, you have to go to Work/school, and at the end of the day, you ask your POOR CHILD what did you learn in school, HOW TO CLEAN THE TOILET. Then Paul, I like Dr. Paul so I won't talk about him., AND FINALLY Romneyis the front runner, but for how long. They don't want me, they want Mr. stomach Christies, or Jeb Bushchit., Mitch Daniels – who, Thune – really.

    President Obama you have nothing to worry about, and you are cleared for landing, Right back into the Oval Office. You American President You.

    December 22, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  3. Reasonable Republican

    @TomInRochNY- President Bush is a legitimate war hero. Do your homework before you make a misinformed comment about a true patriot.

    Getting the backing of a former president is always a big deal, especially when his own governor is running. Great endorsement for our future president.

    Mitt 2012

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

    "He is a former president so he knows what it takes to do the job."

    Let me finish that sentence for you: "...poorly."

    December 22, 2011 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  5. Linc

    Pretty bad endorsement but it could have been worse if Obama endorsed him. But that could never have happened since Obama never held an actual JOB where they could have met.

    December 22, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    I see Rove's Elect a Neocon Robot plan is right on schedule.

    December 22, 2011 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  7. Beck

    Seems Obama has plenty of support for the fine job job he has done of wrecking the economy the last three years. Maybe you could take off the training wheels the for the next half and he can grow a pair so we can be Greece. Lumbering towards his true love – the European welfare state.

    December 23, 2011 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  8. SoSad

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha Repuglicans, train wreck. The Party of NO! The Party of Magic Pants. The Party of Extremists! The Party of the RICH!

    December 23, 2011 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  9. Kwesoe

    Oh Mittens, your backer there was a one-term president. Not many people remember who he really is.

    December 23, 2011 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  10. Lynda/Minnesota

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

    Sure, Mittens. Probably doesn't have a thing to do with that little $100,000 donation Ann Romney recently gave to the former President GHW Bush Library ... nope, not at all, huh, Mitt? (wink, wink)

    December 23, 2011 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  11. nightsun2k7

    So the guy who started the down fall of your country (his son just put the final nail in) is mitt's hero......huh, well if that isn't a wake up call to you Americans i don't know what is....."Read my lips"

    December 23, 2011 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  12. Frolich

    Some very partisan comments here. George H.W. Bush is a war hero who has served our nation well in a variety of positions, including congressman, ambassador, CIA director, vice-president, and president. Maybe his endorsement does not carry any weight with the left wingers on this board, but it does with me. I respect him and his endorsement. And I am not a Republican....I am an independent who voted for Obama in 2008 and I am currently totally undecided on 2012.

    December 23, 2011 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  13. JR White Bear Lake MN.

    What a great get for Mitt Romney..... This endorsement will mean hundreds of votes for him.

    December 23, 2011 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  14. Marco Polo

    Who cares what Romney does... the current Neoconitic GOP hates Ron Paul due to his true conservatism. He is actually for limited government not government for the few!

    December 23, 2011 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  15. ardale

    Lets see, ivy league, east coast establishment, old line gop, Boy this is a really big surprise, huh? The one surprising thing he did was to break protocol and openly oppose a sitting President. Guess that's ok because it was Obama and GOP does not recognize him......

    December 23, 2011 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  16. Olaf Big

    Actually for moderate republicans and independent voters Bush senior endorsement should have a lot of weight, because he represents a different generation of republicans, people with whom you might disagree on many issues and still respect them on a personal level. Bush senior unlike the minor does have a distinguished record of serving this country. So, Romney scored an important point.

    December 23, 2011 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  17. Keith in Austin

    There is no doubt that Romney is Obama's biggest threat. So much so that Uncle Joe "Hair Plug" Biden is now on the bandwagon placing the bullseyes on Romney's back. Here are the facts: The 20 percent of voters that consider themselves as Independents will definitely determine the next President. Left wing Liberals will always detest Romney and nothing will change their votes for Obama no matter how deplorable his record is. Conservatives will vote for any GOP alternative candidate in protest to what Obama is doing to the Country. The real battleground will be for the independent votes and most informed observers believe that Romney is far-more appealing than our current Divider in Chief sitting on his self-imposed royal throne in the White House now! Americans are a UNITED PEOPLE by their nature and at the end of the day, will show their distain for a President focused on dividing us for his political gain. Just wait and see!

    December 23, 2011 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  18. Bill

    @ BECK.....wrecking the economy ? r u kidding me...the economy was wrecked way before Obama thanks to Bush. We would have been worst off if not for Obama...He stoped the down spiral we were heading into, another depression. But u blind fools cant see that....keep listening to Faux News great source of fake information.

    December 23, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  19. chris24

    mitt thinks bush is a hero?
    that makes one person who does.

    December 23, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  20. GI Joe

    Barbara -– he's off his leash again -- quick, run and get him.

    December 23, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    >""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.

    Really? Hasn't Obama also stated Iran would not be allow to develop a nuclear bomb? So just hoiw is he going to stop them? The usual inviote them to dinner and work his Jedi mind tricks on them? The Iranians have already pegged him for the empty suit he is. They know he won't do a thing to stop them, which is probably why they are accelerating their work on a nuke.

    Obama's impotence is going to leave the new President in Jan. 2013 with a disaster called a nuclear armed Iran. Of course the press isn't asking him anything about this failure. Wouldn't want to hurt their chosen candidate I guess.

    December 23, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  22. ObamaJoe

    ==============Mitt Romney==============

    ===========Best choice for GOP =============

    yap,,,,,,you aglee with me ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    December 23, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  23. Ernie

    Romney better remember one thing that when former President GHW Bush was President and he so called won the first Iraq war that he thought he would be a shoe in to be re-elected when his approval ratings sky rocket to 90% percent. That didn't last long. Former President GHW Bush cared more on foreign policy that domestic policy and wound up being a one term President. Romney should be very careful on who he pick for his endorsements because they could come back to haunt him.

    December 23, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  24. Citizen

    Mr. Romney
    President Bush (41) had the interest of the country when he governed. He was willing to accept revenue enhancement; would you have the cojones to do that? Or are you too indebted to your Wall Street cronies?

    December 23, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  25. ObamaJoe

    He is the best for GOP ,,does not means he is not a politician ,,,,,dude,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    ==============Mitt Romney==============

    ===========Best choice for GOP =============

    December 23, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
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