Former President George H.W. Bush formally endorsed Mitt Romney for president on Thursday and called on Republicans to coalesce around his candidacy.
Speaking from his office in Houston with former first lady Barbara Bush at his side, the former president invoked a Kenny Rogers country song to send a message to Romney’s remaining rivals for the GOP nomination, saying you have to know "when to fold 'em."
Bush said: "I do think it’s time for the party to get behind Governor Romney. I think it’s time for people to all get behind this good man. Some of them have waged a very good fight, and I say that about some of his opponents. But we’re so convinced, and mainly since we’ve known Mitt for a long time, that he’s the man to do this job, get on, and win the presidency."
He added: "I'm very proud to fully and enthusiastically endorse and support our old friend Mitt Romney. He’s a good man, he’ll make a great president, and we just wish him well."
Shortly afterward, Barbara Bush chimed in: "I don’t want to neglect the fact that Mitt’s wife is going to make the greatest first lady, next to Laura," a reference to her daughter-in-law, Laura Bush, wife of George W. Bush.
Romney, seated alongside Bush, said: "I'm honored to have your endorsement and support. As the president indicated, we’ve been friends for some time. My parents were also friends of the president and the first lady. And having your support means a great deal to me on a personal basis, a family basis, and also on a national basis.
"This is a critical election, an election about the course of America. And I think we're on a very dangerous path. I think it's important for us to select a nominee and to get on with a campaign which will focus on two very different visions for America, the one presented by President Obama and another that would be presented by me if I become the nominee."