HOUSTON, Texas – Formalizing a decision he made last December, former President George H. W. Bush made official today his endorsement of presidential candidate Mitt Romney during a joint appearance in Houston.
"Barbara and I are very proud to fully and enthusiastically endorse and support our old friend, Mitt Romney," Bush told reporters gathered at his 9th-floor office for the four-minute event. "He's a good man. He'll make a great president and we just wish him well. We're delighted he's here."
Bush, 87, first signaled his support for Romney in a December interview with the Houston Chronicle, telling the paper he thought Romney was a "fine person" and "the best choice for us."
As Romney completed a two-day fundraising swing through the Lone Star State, the two men, along with former First Lady Barbara Bush, gathered before the television cameras to make the endorsement official.
Bush joined a recent chorus of Republicans, including Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who endorsed Romney last night, to come off the sidelines and signal their support and it was time to end the distracting primary fight and for Republicans to focus on beating President Barack Obama this fall.
"I do think the time for the party to get behind Governor Romney," Bush said today, his legs crossed to reveal sharp-looking lavender socks. "With no further ado, here's the man."
Mrs. Bush also had high praise for Romney's wife, Ann, predicting she would be "the greatest first lady. Next to Laura." Laura Bush is her daughter-in-law.
By all accounts, the former president and Romney have been friendly for years, and in a statement today, Romney referred to the former president as his "mentor." The two share mostly moderate records, the experience of growing up in well-to-do, politically-connected families (Bush's father was a U.S. senator; Romney's a governor of Michigan), and even some advisers.
Wrapping up the brief on-camera chat, Bush predicted Romney would "do well" in Texas's May 29th Primary. Romney told reporters that he had not met with Bush’s son, former President George W. Bush, during his time in Texas. The younger Bush lives in Dallas.
“You know, I haven’t met with President George W. Bush,” Romney said. “We speak from time to time.”