George H.W. Bush to Endorse Romney
Former president George H. W. Bush is set to officially endorse Republican candidate Mitt Romney on Thursday, the Romney campaign has announced.
Though speaking favorably of Romney in the past, even telling the Houston Chronicle that “Romney is the best choice for us,” in December, Bush had not yet made the support official.
In December Bush called Romney to voice his support in the middle of the New Hampshire primary. “I had no idea that was coming,” said Romney, “I thanked him for his support, his leadership, his heroic life, and his friendship.”
Romney was moved by the former President’s support, saying that Bush’s phone call was “more important to me personally than even politically.”
Now the two are set to meet again Thursday in Houston, where Bush will announce his endorsement to the press.
But Romney’s affiliation with the Bush family goes back a long way. His father George W. Romney, former governor of Michigan, was close to Bush during his years in the White House.
“We’ve known the Romney’s for a number of years,” said Bush’s wife, former first lady Barbara Bush in an interview with Fox News in early March, “George Romney started really the inspiration for Points of Light. He was a wonderful, giving man, and his son is the same.”
Mrs. Bush recorded phone messages to help sway voters in Ohio and Vermont in his favor for the March 6 primaries, and officially endorsed him shortly after.
“I think he’s a great man, he would be a great choice,” she said.
Romney also collected the endorsement of Barbara and George’s son and former Florida governor Jeb Bush earlier this week.
Jeb’s brother, former president George W. Bush has not yet announced his endorsement in this nomination race.
All of the recent support aids Romney’s strategy to persuade rival Republican candidates to end their campaigns by uniting influential Republican figures in his favor.
This is part of the reason why Bush Sr. is eager to endorse Romney, according to his aide, Jim McGrath.
“He believes it is time for this phase of the campaign to reach a conclusion and get on with regaining the White House,” said McGrath.
Fellow GOP candidates Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are resisting this plan, focusing on their own campaigns for the upcoming April 3 primary in Wisconsin instead.
It will take significant campaigning to gain an edge over Romney, who leads the race with 568 out of the 1,144 delegates. Santorum has 273, Gingrich 130, and Ron Paul 50.