The former president blurted out his support for his party's nominee -- only to be greeted with silence in return.
Updated 6:48 p.m.
George W. Bush's endorsement of Mitt Romney on Tuesday appears to have been unplanned. The former president had just given a speech on human rights in Washington, and afterward, Matt Negrin, a reporter for ABC News, followed him to the elevator and asked who he's supporting in the election in November.
"I'm for Mitt Romney," Bush said, as the elevator doors inched closed.
Well, sure he is. What else was he supposed to say? But it was beyond strange to see a former two-term Republican president slide his support for his party's presumptive nominee under -- or, rather, through -- the door in this manner. And Romney's response was even stranger: silence. The Romney campaign didn't respond to a request for comment on the Bush endorsement, and Romney didn't mention it in his post-endorsement speech Tuesday in Iowa. (A campaign spokeswoman told the New York Observer that Romney was "proud" to have Bush's support, but did not expect to campaign with him.)
Is that any way to treat a former president from your own party? Yes, Bush remains unpopular -- in March 2011, the most recent poll I could find, his favorable rating was measured at 42 percent, while 54 percent viewed him unfavorably. Compare that to President Clinton, whose approval in the same poll stood at 67 percent. Clinton, incidentally, has not endorsed Romney -- but he was mentioned positively and at length in Romney's Iowa speech.