CHARLOTTE, N.C. — George W. Bush has finally weighed on the presidential race — with a terse "I'm for Mitt Romney."

The former president spoke those words Tuesday to ABC News as the doors of an elevator shut following a speech in Washington. They might be Bush's only public opinion about the presidential race before the election.

Romney's campaign doesn't foresee the 43rd president playing a substantive role in the race. Aides are carefully weighing how much the former president should be involved in the GOP convention — and for good reason.

The Bush fatigue that was a drag on GOP nominee John McCain, and on the country, four years ago still lingers.

Romney's aides fear Bush's status could hurt the new Republican standard-bearer in battleground states like Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin.