WASHINGTON -- Mitt Romney heads to Texas on Thursday to accept the formal backing of former President George H.W. Bush -- another prominent figure in the Republican establishment who may add to the pressure for Romney's GOP rivals to bow out of the race.
The former president's endorsement was expected after he told the Houston Chronicle last fall that he thought Romney was "the best choice for us." His wife, Barbara Bush, had formally endorsed Romney and recorded calls on his behalf were used to sway voters in the Super Tuesday states of Ohio and Vermont.
In those recordings, the former first lady said that she and her husband had known the Romneys "for years" and that she believed Romney was "the best man to lead the country for the next four years."
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced his support for Romney last week and signaled his impatience with the drawn-out Republican race during an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "It is time to get behind the nominee," he told the newspaper. Former President George W. Bush has not yet gotten behind a candidate.
The former president will meet Romney at his office in Houston on Thursday for a photo opportunity that will be open just to a small pool of reporters.
NBC reported that the two met at Bush's home in December not long after the elder Bush told CNN that Romney was a "reasonable guy, a conservative fellow" and that he would make a "very good president."
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