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George W. Bush: 'I'm for Mitt Romney'

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For Democrats, one of the principal goals of 2012 is to persuade American voters not to go backwards. Bush/Cheney left all kinds of crises for Obama/Biden to clean up, and Dems intend to urge the electorate not to return to the failures of the recent past.

With this in mind, I suspect Democrats are happier about today's news than Mitt Romney is.

Mitt Romney has the support of George W. Bush.

"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.

Bush's endorsement isn't a surprise, given that Romney is virtually the Republican Party's nominee. But the 43rd president has been absent from the 2012 campaign and hasn't made any public comments showing his support for Romney.

As endorsements go, it's hard to get much thinner than this -- no joint appearance, no press release, no celebratory passing of the torch. It's just a four-word expression of support as elevator doors were closing.

Nevertheless, Democrats will take it. Romney already had the support of Bush's brother and parents; he's already hired Bush's former team to lead his campaign; and he's already adopted most of the same policy priorities of the failed former president.

The Republican National Committee conceded recently that a Romney presidency would be the same as Bush's presidency, "just updated." Those hoping to characterize Romney as offering Bush's third term -- only more right-wing -- have it pretty easy, and given the scope of Bush's spectacular failures in office, and the fact that many Americans correctly still hold him responsible for national and international problems, that's not a good thing for the GOP in 2012.

I suspect the former Massachusetts governor won't have too much to say about today's endorsement, but I'd like to see Romney answer just one question: how would your presidency be different from Bush's?