Mitt Romney has landed the support of former President George H.W. Bush, who called him “the best choice” for the Republican presidential nomination.

“I think Romney is the best choice for us,” Bush told the Houston Chronicle on Thursday. “I like [Rick] Perry, but he doesn’t seem to be going anywhere; he’s not surging forward.”

Perry, who succeeded Bush’s son, George W. Bush, as governor of Texas, has had a famously acrimonious relationship with the Bush family, who endorsed his rival, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R), in the state’s 2010 gubernatorial election.

But Bush was gracious toward Perry while speaking to the Chronicle.

“I’ve got to be a little careful because I like Perry; he’s our governor,” Bush said.

Bush cited Romney’s “stability, experience and principles” as reasons for his support, and said that the former Massachusetts governor isn’t a “bomb-thrower.” Bush said he’s known Romney for many years, and also knew his father, George Romney, the former Michigan governor and one-time Republican presidential candidate.

Bush said he is not Newt Gingrich’s “biggest advocate,” recounting the time when then-House Whip Gingrich backed away from supporting him in his pledge of “no new taxes.”

“He [Gingrich] was there, right outside the Oval Office. I met with all the Republican leaders, all the Democratic leaders,” Bush said. “The plan was, we were all going to walk out into the Rose Garden and announce this deal. Newt was right there. Got ready to go out in the Rose Garden, and I said, ‘Where’s Gingrich?’ Went up to Capitol Hill. He was here a minute ago. Went up there and started lobbying against the thing.

“He told me one time later on, he said, ‘This is the most difficult thing I ever had to do.’ I said, ‘I didn’t like it much myself, Newt,’ ” Bush recalled.

With less than two weeks before the Iowa caucuses, Romney is racking up important endorsements. He has the support of 60 current senators and representatives, while Perry comes in a distant second, with 13.