-- In what may be the final face-off in the Ticket's Romney tepid endorsement playoffs, we're pitting former President George W. Bush against three-time champion Mitch Daniels for the title. Bush, asked for his position on the election by ABC News after a speech in Washington, D.C. Tuesday, merely stated that "I'm for Mitt Romney." In a poetic touch, he said so just as the door of the elevator he was riding closed.
The former president has been conspicuously absent from the GOP nomination process, and his brother Jeb was less than effusive in his statement of support for Romney two months ago. (Jeb Bush, a former Florida governor, lost in the first round of the original tepid endorsement bracket to Tex. Rep. Lamar Smith.) While his statement today was not as backhanded as original champion George Pataki's or current titlist Mitch Daniels, we're counting his overall lack of praise for Romney to date as its own sort of tepidity.
Vote below. Results will be announced Thursday.
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
"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
"The primary campaign certainly made it clear that Governor Romney and I have some differences. But there are many significant areas in which we agree... Above all else, we both agree that President Obama must be defeated. The task will not be easy. It will require all hands on deck if our nominee is to be victorious. Governor Romney will be that nominee."
—Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, May. 8, 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
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