Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is getting an informal boost from the 41st president of the United States less than two weeks before the Iowa caucuses.

Former President George H.W. Bush told the Houston Chronicle earlier this week that Romney was his man, citing the candidate's "stability, experience, principles."

"I think Romney is the best choice for us," the elder Bush remarked. "I like Perry, but he doesn’t seem to be going anywhere; he’s not surging forward."

"He’s a fine person," he said of Romney. "I just think he’s mature and reasonable – not a bomb-thrower."

But when it comes to Romney's biggest current Republican challenger, Newt Gingrich, the former president is not a fan.

"I’m not his biggest advocate," Bush said, recalling that Gingrich had chosen at the last minute not stand with him as he announced he would be forced to renege on his no-tax pledge due to the 1990 recession.

Bush said that in the end, he would support whichever candidate captured the Republican nomination -- even if it turned out to be Ron Paul.

"I want to see Obama beaten," he declared. "I just don’t believe Ron Paul can get the nomination."

Photo: Flickr/PBS Newshour