THE FIVE

George H.W. Bush endorses Mitt Romney

How will the endorsement impact the 2012 race?

 

This is a rush transcript from "The Five," March 29, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: This is a Fox News alert. We're going to go right to President Herbert Walker Bush's office in Houston where he is endorsing Governor Mitt Romney.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARBARA BUSH, FORMER FIRST LADY: -- which is not too long, 86 years. I really think it's most important and I know George does too, to elect you president.

MITT ROMNEY, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, thank you. Coming from the president and first lady, I'm honored to have your endorsement and your support.

And the president indicated that we've been friends for some time. My parents were also friends of the president and the first lady. And having your support means a great deal to me on a personal basis, family basis and also on a national basis.

I agree with the first lady, that this is a critical election. It's an election about the course of America. And I think we're on a very dangerous path. And it's important for to us select a nominee.

And to get on with a campaign, which will focus on two very different visions for America -- the one presented by President Obama and another presented by me if I become the nominee -- so that the American people can have a very clear understanding of the path that worthy -- the path would lead depending on who they elect as president.

So, I look forward to being successful in honoring that endorsement by winning. And I have a big day coming up next Tuesday, with elections in Wisconsin, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. I hope to get a good number of delegates from those three contests and be on my way to secure the nomination and taking on the president.

And so, with your endorsement I get a boost from those endorsements. And also here in Texas, I'm told they know you guys pretty well here.

GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Been here a long time. You'll do well here. I'm convinced of that.

ROMNEY: Well, I look forward to this process and appreciate your help. And we'll see the rest of you on the trail.

H.W. BUSH: No questions?

REPORTER: Have you met with George W. Bush when you've been here? And have you sought his endorsement?

ROMNEY: You know, I haven't met with President George W. Bush. We speak from time to time.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMNEY: Now you see why.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMNEY: I love that picture over there, the two presidents, quite a legacy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GUTFELD: Bob, thoughts? You look like you're dozed off there for a moment. I was up all --

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: He's just having a moment.

GUTFELD: Yes.

Big surprise?

BOB BECKEL, CO-HOST: No. It's not a big surprise. I think George Herbert Walker Bush and we know Mrs. Bush are the kinds of Republican leaders that want this thing over. And if I were them, I would get out and do it. Jeb did it last week.

It's time for people to close ranks. I don't know whether Santorum and Newt Gingrich will get the program here, but I notice that Adelson said it's over for Newt, which is a big deal. Santorum's super PAC is going to continue to go. I supposed they'll go to the convention.

But I just think that it's a reality. If had been normal presidential rules, this race would have been over a month-and-a-half ago.

One last thing I would say, endorsements in primaries probably matter.

In the general election they don't matter much at all.

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: The first lady was on the show a couple of months ago, maybe a month ago. She said he is the guy. She's very proud there.

PERINO: She said I'm going to speak for the president.

BOLLING: For 41, right?

GUTFELD: But it's a good, I think it's a good and significant development for you're the Romney team, you are thinking, OK, we're one step closer today.

But I also think that the Marco Rubio endorsement last night, even some people thought it was lukewarm, is also significant.

BOLLING: That was huge.

GUTFELD: Andrea, what do you think? Do you think this is actually going to give a message to what I call Rewt, which is combination of Rick and Newt?

ANDREA TANTAROS, CO-HOST: I don't know if Newt is actually listening very well. They seem pretty defiant to stay in the race. But as Bob said, if the money runs out for Newt, it's going to be very tough for him to stay in the race.

But I do think the GOP, not just the GOP, everybody sitting at this table, wants this thing wrapped up already. And I think you're going to hear the crescendo starts to get louder.

But this is an important endorsement. I mean, we are getting close to Texas. This is meaningful. There are going to be a primary.

And I think the Rubio endorsement, though as -- Dana mentioned -- lukewarm and late if the game. I mean, the real political courage comes when you endorse them early. But I think it is significant.

BECKEL: And one thing I say is look what is coming up? California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas -- big states, where you need a lot of money to do it. Santorum has no money. Romney does. Gingrich has none.

I suspect that those states might put him over the top.

PERINO: Andrea, how is Santorum doing in Pennsylvania, which is your home state? Which I haven't seen much of lately.

TANTAROS: It's going to be tough. It's going to be very tough for him. I mean, this is a state that he lost, and he lost by double digits. Now, he lost by a conservative Democrat to Bob Casey, who is a pro-life Democrat -- which I compare to unicorns, because I say, do they really exist?

But I think it's going to be very tough for him; particularly, when he doesn't have the money to be competitive. At any time we see the president I think start to inch up in these polls, you see Republicans get very nervous and they say, we got to end this thing. Romney is favored, as Bob mentioned, to win these next big upcoming states.

BOLLING: And the only one you're hearing lately with endorsements, you know, high profile endorsements are Mitt Romney. No one is lining up behind Santorum or Gingrich.

BECKEL: Yes, the other thing about Pennsylvania is it's really is a more moderate Republican electorate and Santorum hasn't been winning in.

It's conservative, but the counties around Philadelphia are more moderate.

The more kind of demographics that Romney does well in.

I would be surprised to see Santorum win his home state. If he doesn't win there, what's his argument? I mean, at that point, I would imagine -- you know, if you look at these winner-take-all states, I think Romney can get over the top by the end of May.

GUTFELD: You know, we had Jeb Bush, the dad, any other Bushes left?

PERINO: Laura Bush.

GUTFELD: What about the band Bush? You know the band, with Gavin Rossdale?

TANTAROS: He's British. Can he even vote in this country?

BOLLING: Reggie Bush.

GUTFELD: Reggie Bush.

PERINO: But actually, the question that the reporter asked was, the one question have you talked and sought to George W.'s endorsement? President Bush 43 said he's not going to endorse before the primary. So, that's a good question for the reporter.

BECKEL: And we're really excited about this block, I can tell, Greg.

GUTFELD: Yes.

BECKEL: So, go ahead and get out of here.

PERINO: Can I get the bread out for you?

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