John Bolton, who had considered his own presidential run, Wednesday endorsed Republican hopeful Mitt Romney, saying the former Massachusetts governor is “most likely to beat Barack Obama.” The former U.N. ambassador also told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren of all the candidates who considered or are running for president, he — Bolton — was the only “ideal conservative” and Romney was “conservative enough for me.”
“I’ve thought about this very hard — this is extraordinarily important decision for the Republican Party — I believe it is absolutely critical to defeat Barack Obama in November,” Bolton said. “I think our country would be in dire straits domestically and internationally if he gets another four years. And I think Governor Romney is the person who can best lead the party, best articulate our conservative principles, and is most likely to beat Barack Obama.”
Van Susteren noted that GOP candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have both attacked Romney for being too moderate and wondered whether the former U.N. ambassador agreed.
“Well, let me put it this way: Looking at the whole range of prospective candidates, there was only one prospective candidate who met my test as the ideal conservative, but he decided not to run,” Bolton said.
The Fox News host asked if that candidate was Bolton.
“I guess — I guess he’s sitting here! So faced with everybody else, I followed the William F. Buckley, Jr., test, which is to find the most conservative candidate who is capable of getting elected,” Bolton said. “There are obviously two variables there. But you know, in the words of the old song, ‘Give Me That Old-Time Religion,’ Romney’s conservative enough for me, and I think he’s the one most likely to get elected — and I think that’s critical.
“I’ve read his speeches and writings — I’ve talked to him about these issues over the years — I’m very confident about the strength of his view of American exceptionalism, the importance of a vigorous American role in the world to defend our interests, and I think he fully understands the challenges we face,” he said.
Bolton said he believes one of the reasons it is critical to defeat Obama is “he is comfortable with American decline in the world.”
“He’s happy with a reduced defense budget — he doesn’t appreciate that we face enormous risks and challenges — most immediately from the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, but also from the threat long term of a potentially aggressive China, a resurgent Russia, chaos in the Middle East,” he said. “I just don’t think he understands the world even after three years of on-the-job training.”
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