-- The thousands of Yahoo! readers who played our Mitt Romney tepid endorsement bracket have spoken: Former New York Gov. George Pataki has given the most lackluster nod of support this election cycle.
Pataki, by starting out his endorsement with the ringing words "He has a number of problems," edged out co-finalist Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who told the Daily Caller that "There are a lot of other people out there that some of us wish had run for president—but they didn't," while endorsing the former Massachusetts governor.
The pair rose to the top of our interactive, NCAA-style bracket that pitted eight Republicans who endorsed Romney in less-than-glowing terms against each other. Pataki edged out Rubio by about 600 votes. You can see their full quotes below.
Quotes (in descending order of votes):
"Now, Mitt is not a perfect candidate. He has a number of problems. It's hard for blue-collar families like mine to identify with him. It's hard for economic conservatives to identify with him. He needs to do more to reach out to the Latinos. But I think he has focus on that and on defeating President Obama as opposed to winning the next primary in the next state, and it's time to do that."
—Former New York Gov. George Pataki, Mar. 7, 2012
"There are a lot of other people out there that some of us wish had run for president—but they didn't. I think Mitt Romney would be a fine president, and he'd be way better than the guy who's there right now."
—Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Mar. 29, 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
"The Republican Party is fortunate to have many candidates who are well-qualified ... Last May—three months before Gov. Perry announced his candidacy—I contributed to Gov. Romney's campaign and committed to supporting him. Both candidates have impressive records of creating jobs and controlling spending in their home states. My support of Gov. Romney does not lessen my regard for Gov. Perry."
—Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, Oct. 29, 2011
"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
"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
"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
"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
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