Will former first ladies stick together?
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Earlier this month, 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney was trying to convince someone (anyone) to enter the 2016 race as a third-party candidate.

Even though he officially ended his search, there still may be a way for the former Massachusetts governor to play a role in this year's presidential race. Here's how Brent Budowsky, a columnist for The Hill, sees it:


By supporting Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton3 ways government can help clean up Twitter Intelligence Democrat: Stop using 'quid pro quo' to describe Trump allegations The Memo: Bloomberg's 2020 moves draw ire from Democrats MORE over Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Impeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Judd Gregg: The big, big and bigger problem MORE, Mitt Romney would be doing something that has become rare in American politics. He would be putting patriotism before party, while trying to save the party of Lincoln from becoming the party of Trump.

Which got me to thinking: Are there any bigger names than Romney's out there willing to endorse Clinton? Off the top, I can think of two. Handled with great care and diplomacy, there is a chance former first lady Barbara Bush and her daughter-in-law, former first lady Laura Bush, could come out swinging for (former first lady) Hillary Clinton.

In the past, Barbara Bush has all but said she thinks of Hillary's husband, former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonDemocrats debate how to defeat Trump: fight or heal As impeachment goes public, forget 'conventional wisdom' Legacy of California's Prop. 187 foreshadows GOP's path ahead MORE, like a son. And just a few weeks ago, Laura Bush refused to deny she is leaning toward voting for Hillary. I wonder if the idea of a kindred spirit of sorts, sitting in the Oval Office, had any impact on Bush 41 and Bush 43 deciding not to attend the Republican convention this summer or endorse Trump?

I also wonder what former first lady Nancy Reagan, who recently passed away, would have done? After all, Trump has made a mockery out of The Gipper's 11th Commandment, "Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican."

Former first ladies have a long history of involvement in presidential elections. The first was Lucretia Garfield, who endorsed Theodore Roosevelt's third-party run in 1912. Then there was Edith Wilson, who refused to endorse any of Franklin Roosevelt's four terms, although Teddy Roosevelt's widow, also an Edith, surprised many when she came out for Herbert Hoover in 1932.

More recently, Mamie Eisenhower not only campaigned for Ike's vice president Richard Nixon in 1968, she was featured in a campaign commercial in 1972. And Jacqueline Kennedy? She supported then-Sen. Ted Kennedy's (D-Mass.) run against incumbent Jimmy Carter in 1980.

So the streets are littered with endorsements from first ladies. If Barbara Bush and Laura Bush were to break ranks and publicly support Hillary Clinton, daughters and granddaughters everywhere would have plenty to talk about for decades.

Like I tell my kids, "It's best to be an American first and a card-carrying partisan second." I hope Mitt Romney and the Bush first ladies take my message to heart.

Freidenrich writes from Laguna Beach, Calif. His letters and commentaries have run in the New York Times, Washington Post, Washington Times, Christian Science Monitor, Sacramento Bee, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register and many other newspapers. He can be reached on Twitter @freidomreport.