After a hard-fought battle, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has held off a challenge from former President George W. Bush to defend his title as the winner of the Ticket's Tepid Romney Endorsement tournament. By a vote of 3,110 to 2,748, readers preferred Daniels' scornful characterization of Romney as out of touch with the middle class—delivered in an interview hours after he endorsed the former Massachusetts governor—over Bush's terse "I'm for Mitt Romney."
All Tepid Romney Endorsements:
"I'm for Mitt Romney, " Bush told ABC News Tuesday morning as the doors of an elevator closed on him.
—Former President George W. Bush, May. 15, 2012
"Now is the time for Republicans to unite behind Gov. Romney and take our message of fiscal conservatism and job creation to all voters this fall."
—Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Mar. 21, 2012
"With all due respect to my fellow conservative leaders determined to oppose Gov. Romney, that is not a worthy endeavor. For the sake of our Republic, I'm not willing to wait until the Republican National Convention to sort this out. It's time to unite behind a worthy presidential candidate, build our organization and raise the resources necessary to defeat the liberal electoral machine."
—American Conservative Union Chairman Al Cardenas, Mar. 26, 2012
"You have to campaign to govern, not just to win... Spend the precious time and dollars explaining what's at stake and a constructive program to make life better. And as I say, look at everything through the lens of folks who have yet to achieve. Romney doesn't talk that way... You don't change one thing about the policies you advocate or your principles... It's not complicated. But for some reason sometimes candidates just miss that."
—Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, Apr. 19, 2012
"While I also admire his opponents, it is now clear that Mitt Romney is the candidate most able to defeat Barack Obama in November. This election is too important to lose and that's why I urge my fellow Republicans to join me in supporting Mitt Romney."
—Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Mar. 26, 2012
"I'm asked sometimes, Is Mitt Romney conservative? And my answer is simple: Compared to Barack Obama? This is not a choice between Mitt Romney and Ronald Reagan. This is a choice between Mitt Romney and the most radical leftist president in history."
—Former Speaker Newt Gingrich, May. 2, 2012
"I believe it is now time for our party to unite around the candidate best equipped to defeat Barack Obama. Despite our differences and the space between us on some of the issues, I believe that candidate is Gov. Mitt Romney."
—Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jan. 16, 2012
"This is a pretty critical year. There are big decisions for the country to make and ... I think we would be well-advised as Republicans to start getting behind our eventual nominee."
—Utah Sen. Mike Lee, Mar. 25, 2012