Former President Bush names Romney as favorite GOP presidential contender

Former President George H.W. Bush wants former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to be the GOP's 2012 presidential nominee.

The elder Bush said that Romney would make a "very good president" in an interview with CNN's Larry King Monday night.

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Asked by King who his personal favorite in 2012 is, Bush said, "Well, I mentioned [my son] Jeb, but he’s not going to try. So, I don't. I don’t really. If you asked me, who will the nominee be, I couldn't tell you. We like Mitt Romney. We know him well and like him very much."

The informal endorsement comes three weeks after the midterm elections in which Republicans, partly on the backs of conservative Tea Party activists, took back control of the House and picked up six Senate seats and seven governorships. Their wins sparked talk that the party stands a good chance of defeating President Obama in 2012.

An early Quinnipiac University poll released Monday found Romney and Obama statistically tied in a hypothetical matchup in two years.

King asked Bush if Romney is "keeping with the Bush political stance," as in being "middle of the road."

"Don't want to kill him off," Bush replied before calling him a "reasonable guy" and a "conservative fellow."

Bush's son, former President George W. Bush, has also been on a media tour to promote his memoir Decision Points but has for the most part declined to wade into current political debates.