Jeb Bush endorsed GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney Wednesday. Bush released the following statement:
“Congratulations to Governor Mitt Romney on his win last night and to all the candidates for a hard fought, thoughtful debate and primary season. Primary elections have been held in thirty-four states, and now is the time for Republicans to unite behind Governor Romney and take our message of fiscal conservatism and job creation to all voters this fall. I am endorsing Mitt Romney for our Party¹s nomination. We face huge challenges, and we need a leader who understands the economy, recognizes more government regulation is not the answer, believes in entrepreneurial capitalism and works to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to succeed.”
Mitt Romney’s statement:
“Jeb Bush is synonymous with good government and with conservative policies that yield results. He has long demonstrated an outstanding ability to bring people together. I therefore take tremendous pride in having earned his endorsement. This is a key moment in the presidential contest and Jeb’s counsel and support will be critical in the coming months in my effort to defeat Barack Obama and turn around our country.”
Bush, a popular two-term governor, still commands respect within the Republican Party. He carries weight among Hispanic voters — a key bloc in swing states such as Florida — and has been outspoken about his party’s need to change its rhetoric with Latinos.
Throughout the past year, Bush resisted calls to jump into the 2012 presidential race — even recently as some conservatives sought a “white knight” because of dissatisfaction with the GOP field.
3:46 p.m. – USF political expert J. Edwin Benton on Bush endorsement of Romney: “Jeb Bush could be the vice presidential nominee now.” #sayfie
12:32 p.m. – Nate Silver says it’s all but over:
At the betting market Intrade, Mr. Santorum is now given just a 1.5 percent chance of winning the nomination — lower than the combined total for a series of dark-horse figures like Jeb Bush, Sarah Palin and Chris Christie, who together have about a 3 percent chance. The race will continue on until Mr. Romney clinches or everyone else quits, but the only real question is whether Mr. Romney could somehow beat himself.
12:31 p.m. – Kilgore calls the race:
To put it simply, April should be gangbusters for Romney, and might well put it so far out of reach that Santorum gives up or donors give up on him. If he survives, though, Santorum could have a false spring in May, when primaries are dominated by the South. The final hammer comes down in June when winner-take-all New Jersey and Utah, plus winner-take-all-by-congressional-district California, are almost certain to go massively for Mitt.
11:46 a.m. – Spokeswoman for Jeb Bush says “right now there are no plans” to campaign with Romney.
11:42 a.m. – “He’s lost any hope that we’ll have anyone better.” — Senior GOP operative on why Jeb endorsed Mitt (via The Fix.)
11:25 a.m. – @AdmiralWaugh: The guy who SHOULD be our nominee endorses the guy who WILL be our nominee.
11:24 a.m. – Jeb tweets his endorsement: I’ve endorsed @MittRomney. It’s time for GOP to unite & take our message of fiscal conservatism & job creation to all voters.
11:23 a.m. – @MittRomney: March 21st is turning into a pretty big day. Anniversary, @tromney’s birthday, and now an endorsement from @JebBush.
11:22 a.m. – @SenJohnMcCain: Totally agree with @JebBush on @MittRomney.
11:20 a.m. – Me: In other news, Jeb Bush predicts Peyton Manning will sign with Broncos.
11:07 a.m. – @CNNJustin: Jeb Bush Endorses Mitt Romney for President. This may be one endorsement that does actually matter.
10:59 a.m. – First Read: As Bush’s statement indicates, his endorsement comes at a point in the primary where Republicans, following Romney’s win in last night’s Illinois primary by a wide margin, may begin to rally around Romney’s candidacy. A popular figure within the GOP, Bush had been one of the few major Republicans yet to make an endorsement.
10:56 a.m. – RT @stevebeste: Does Mitt Romney support Jeb Bush’s “Stand Your Ground” law? #trayvon
10:54 a.m. – Dave Weigel suggests an alternative headline: “Romney endorsed by guy who signed Stand Your Ground legislation.”
10:51 a.m. – @jimgeraghty: Rolling out Jeb’s endorsement helps ensure Romney avoids the traditional momentum-killing gaffe he uses to celebrate every primary win.