Bush says he backs Romney

FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2004 file photo, President George W. Bush waves as Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney applauds, in Nashua, N.H. Expect Bush to stay far away from this year's presidential election. Romney's campaign doesn't foresee the 43rd president playing any substantive role in the race over the next six months and the GOP candidate's aides are carefully weighing how much the former president should be involved in this summer's GOP convention _ and for good reason. The Bush fatigue that was a drag on GOP nominee John McCain four years ago clearly still lingers, even among Republicans. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2004 file photo, President George W. Bush waves as Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney applauds, in Nashua, N.H. Expect Bush to stay far away from this year's presidential election. Romney's campaign doesn't foresee the 43rd president playing any substantive role in the race over the next six months and the GOP candidate's aides are carefully weighing how much the former president should be involved in this summer's GOP convention _ and for good reason. The Bush fatigue that was a drag on GOP nominee John McCain four years ago clearly still lingers, even among Republicans. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File) (Steven Senne)
Posted: May 17, 2012

WASHINGTON - George W. Bush said Tuesday that he's backing presumptive Republican White House nominee Mitt Romney.

The former president offered a four-word endorsement of Romney as the doors of his elevator were closing after a speech in Washington.

Bush said: "I'm for Mitt Romney."

ABC News caught Bush after the speech, prompting his unscripted - but not surprising - endorsement.

Bush's parents, former President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush, endorsed Romney in March during an appearance in Texas. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush also publicly backed Romney.

In his speech Tuesday, Bush praised the Arab Spring movement and said the United States shouldn't fear the spread of freedom, even if it doesn't know what policies the countries will pursue.

"America does not get to choose if a freedom revolution should begin or end in the Middle East or elsewhere," Bush said. "It only gets to choose what side it is on."

And the United States, Bush said, should always be on the side of freedom.

The ex-president's remarks came at an event marking the launch of his presidential institute's "Freedom Collection." The event also featured brief remarks by his wife, Laura Bush, and a question-and-answer session by video with Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Bush joked that he had found his own freedom "by leaving Washington."

Since leaving office in January 2009, Bush has tried to avoid politics. He was deeply unpopular with voters who blamed him for the economic crisis that unfolded on his watch.

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