HOUSTON, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, who had been keeping his presidential preferences to himself, Thursday called Mitt Romney "the best choice."
"I think Romney is the best choice for us," Bush, the 41st president and father of President George W. Bush, told the Houston Chronicle. "I like (Texas Gov. Rick) Perry, but he doesn't seem to be going anywhere, he's not surging forward."
The Bushes endorsed Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson over Perry in the Texas governor's race last year as Perry sought a third term. The Republican establishment is rallying around Romney as the most electable candidate and he has the support of 60 current members of Congress while Perry has the backing of 13, The Hill said.
"I've got to be a little careful because I like Perry, he's our governor," Bush told the Chronicle, stopping short of an official Romney endorsement. He also said he wasn't the biggest advocate for the other GOP front-runner, Newt Gingrich, heading into the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses.
Bush said he liked Romney's "stability, experience and principles" adding he thought the former Massachusetts governor was "mature and reasonable – not a bomb-thrower."