Tepid endorsements of Mitt Romney by leading Republican figures are a well-documented phenomenon, from Rick Santorum's late-night e-mail to Marco Rubio's "There are a lot of other people out there that some of us wish had run for president — but they didn't." But former President George W. Bush may have offered the most tepid endorsement yet today:
“I’m for Mitt Romney,” Bush told ABC News this morning as the doors of an elevator closed on him, after he gave a speech on human rights a block from his old home — the White House.
You don't announce significant things that you actually care about — for example, "Let's get married, we'll talk later" or, say, "One last thing: I have lung cancer" — from inside an elevator whose doors are in the process of closing. You set aside some time in order to allow yourself the opportunity to thoroughly discuss the important topic at hand. We get that ABC sprung this question on Bush, and that he didn't go out of his way to make his very first endorsement of Romney in such a tepid manner. But nobody forced Bush to answer. In fact, the rapidly closing doors of the elevator gave him the perfect excuse not to. But the way Bush went about it, it translates as, "I'm for Mitt Romney but only because I'll be on a different floor three seconds from now and you won't be able to ask me any follow-up questions."
Of course, it's possible Bush was just trying to do Romney a favor. After all, many voters would see the George W. Bush seal of approval as more of a blemish than anything. Perhaps tossing the four-word endorsement out of a closing elevator was the best way to go about it after all.