By Justin Sink
Former President George W. Bush, who has remained on the sidelines during the bruising Republican nomination fight, said Tuesday he would be supporting Mitt Romney's bid for the White House.
"I'm for Mitt Romney," Bush told ABC News this morning as the doors of the elevator he was riding closed.
Bush's support is mostly a formality at this point; Romney is the presumptive Republican Party nominee. Ron Paul, the only other candidate not to formally suspend his bid, said Monday he would no longer be on the campaign trail. Bush's parents, former President George H.W. Bush and first lady Barbara Bush, also have endorsed Romney.
But the remarks are an important symbolic tie between the last Republican president to hold the Oval Office and the man who aspires to do so. Democrats will likely pounce on the endorsement to tie Romney to Bush and his policies; the former president continues to receive the lion's share of blame from voters for the poor economy, according to polls.
President Obama has repeatedly referenced the Bush administration while campaigning against conservative economic principles.
“We tried this for eight years before I took office — we tried it,” Obama said to a crowd at a Florida college last month. “It’s not like we didn’t try it.”
But it's possible Bush's endorsement could boost fundraising among party loyalists. Democrats have leaned on President Clinton throughout the campaign, with the former commander in chief appearing in ads and at high-profile fundraisers.