Former Bush A.G. Ashcroft backs Romney
March 5th, 2012
12:19 PM ET
11 years ago

Former Bush A.G. Ashcroft backs Romney

(CNN) – John Ashcroft, who served as U.S. attorney general in the administration of George W. Bush, became one of the first major names from that White House to endorse a presidential candidate Monday.

Ashcroft backed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, saying in a statement, "No other candidate stands out for his executive leadership experience or ability to accomplish difficult tasks as does Mitt Romney."

CNN LIVE:Go to, and CNN Mobile for the CNN Election Roundtable, a live video chat hosted by Wolf Blitzer and the CNN political team, on Tuesday at 12 p.m. ET. Tune in this week for live coverage of the primaries on Super Tuesday on, on the CNN apps and on the CNN mobile web site. Follow CNN Politics on Facebook and on Twitter at #cnnelections.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

Romney reciprocated by complimenting Ashcroft's commitment to "serving our country and protecting its citizens," and mentioned that he worked with Ashcroft during the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.

Ashcroft, who served as the head of Bush's Justice Department from 2001-2005, joined former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton as the two most well-known members of Bush's administration to endorse a candidate. Bolton, now a contributor on Fox News Channel, backed Romney in January.

Bush's Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge endorsed Jon Huntsman in September, but hasn't come out in support of another candidate since Huntsman dropped his bid for the nomination in January.

Former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara Bush came out in support of Romney in December. Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, has yet to endorse a candidate.

Other major players from Bush's era, including the former president himself, have largely stayed out of the 2012 GOP contest. Endorsements have yet to come from former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, former Defense Secretaries Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates, and former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao.

On the trail and in debates, the candidates rarely mention the period from 2001-2009 when Bush was president. While they all advocate extending tax cuts on the wealthy implemented by Bush, many of his other programs have become radioactive for candidates on the trail.

No Child Left Behind, the educational reform program pushed by Bush in 2001, became a touchstone at the last CNN debate in Arizona. Rick Santorum became a punching bag for saying he "took one for the team" by voting for the measure, and that the bill stood opposed to the "principles I believed in."

A similar dividing line was drawn at the Arizona debate on the federal government's bailout of the auto industry, a program that began under Bush and continued during President Barack Obama's administration.

All four candidates said they oppose government bailouts of industries, though they differed on whether or not the auto bailout was a good idea. Romney and Gingrich both said automakers should have gone through a bankruptcy process instead of receiving a federal bailout.

Dissatisfaction on government spending under Bush, while not derided outwardly on the campaign trail, is reflected in the candidates' pledges to reduce the federal debt, which expanded in the years Bush was president.

Also see:

Poll: All tied up in Tennessee

Romney gets backing from key Republicans

Barbara Bush robo calls for Romney

Romney, Santorum tied in Ohio

Filed under: 2012 • John Ashcroft • Mitt Romney
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    More proof Rmoney is GWB V 2.0, minus the "compassion" and public speaking skills.

    March 5, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  2. ted

    blah blah blah. "No other candidate stands out for his executive leadership experience or ability to accomplish difficult tasks as does Mitt "

    Are you actually sober, Mr Ashcroft? Maybe Mitt can run a business (questionable) or save the Olympics (so what), but Washington DC has a reputation of chewing up business leaders and spitting them out. Could Mitt survive in DC where there are 535 people on the othe side of the street that have their own opinions and you can't do anything about them, as in FIRE them? Mitt Romney is a flip flopping gaffe-meister who hasn't had a real job in a long time, is out of touch with reality and the American voters and quite frankly cannot rally the GOP behind him.

    Only one thing to do: OBAMA-BIDEN 2012

    March 5, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  3. Data Driven

    Not even Republicans care about whom Ashcroft endorses.

    Meanwhile, it's gratifying to see that the media is starting to take notice that the GOP candidates have been acting as if Bush's eight years never happened. Next step: asking them why. It's a relevant question, given that they're proposing nothing substantively different from Bush's policies.

    March 5, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  4. Kenny

    All these full-throated endorsements and it's not Jello yet? Can Mrs. Willard help out with that?

    March 5, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  5. Tim

    Will Willard be cutting out any words from this endorsement or can it stand as it is? Editor-in-Chief with all the news that's been fit to be redacted and re-printed for those future flyers that most people put in the trash withou reading anyway. The millions of dollars that have been wasted and dull Willard just can not be made to shine.

    March 5, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  6. Real Politics

    All these endorsements for Romney coming in today can only one thing: They want to end the election process and concentrate on the general election regardless if they feel that this dumbo can win the election. Romney has the money which is the only reason he is winning.

    March 5, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  7. ozzie

    Maybe they can start another war.

    March 5, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  8. B

    And why not, these idiots supported the worst President; Bush, to Ever step foot in the White House and would take us all back to their policies that damn near destroyed this country!

    It never ends..

    March 5, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  9. diridi

    This idiot's endorsement means nothing. Just another Bush type idiot.

    March 5, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  10. Al-NY,NY

    yet another endorsement for Mittens that will only hurt him. Keep 'em coming Flippity. Who's next....?

    March 5, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |

    An endorsement from a Bush cronie doesn't amount to anything. Barbara Bush is endorsing Willard as well. It looks as if if Willard were elected, he'll appoint a bunch of old BushBots.

    March 5, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Ashcroft's endorsement and $ know the rest.
    By the way, can we bring Ashcroft up on charges for the whole Iraq-WMD Big Lie? These Shrubites should really stay well under the public radar.

    Obama 2012.

    March 5, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  13. GI Joe.

    Because Romney attends all te TOP SECRET MEETINGS EVERY DAY?

    March 5, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  14. GI Joe.

    Because Mass was 47th in job creation when he was Gov?

    March 5, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  15. cali girl

    latty dah, just more proof of Dubya's second coming.

    March 5, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  16. Jake

    excellant way to get people to vote for ANYONE but Romney!

    March 5, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  17. T'sah from Virginia

    Bush-Ash has spoken... Who cares!!

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!!

    March 5, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  18. Publius Novus

    I am shocked. Shocked, I tell you.

    March 5, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  19. Fair is Fair

    By the way, can we bring Ashcroft up on charges for the whole Iraq-WMD Big Lie?
    Sure. Right after FDR is posthumously prosecuted for war crimes for the firebombings of German and Japanese cities, incinerating millions of civilians... and Truman is posthumously prosecuted for war crimes for using nuclear weapons on 2 Japanese cities, vaporizing hundreds of thousands of citizens... and LBJ is posthumously prosecuted for war crimes for using Agent Orange and Napalm in Viet Nam, killing untold numbers of citizens... and Bill Clinton is prosecuted for war crimes for using depleted uranium munitions in the Balkans.

    Gonna get busy at the Hague...

    March 5, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  20. Fair is Fair

    GI Joe.

    Because Mass was 47th in job creation when he was Gov?
    When Romney was governor here, we had a labor shortage. You can't really grow jobs when there's no labor to fill them.

    March 5, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  21. Jules

    Another reason not to support Romney. They just keep coming.

    March 5, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  22. Voice of Reason

    With an endorsement from Ashcroft, Rove, and Cheney... Is there any sane person left on the planet who would vote for Romney?

    March 5, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |