Is there a White House in Jeb Bush's future?

Jeb Bush has long resisted pressure from supporters to run for president. Now the former Florida governor is signaling that he's at least open to the idea, a shift that comes as he promotes a new book and Republicans struggle to rebound after President Barack Obama's re-election.
Associated Press
Mar 7, 2013

"I'm not saying yes. I'm just not saying no," Bush told NBC News earlier this week, one of a series of such comments he's made as he talks about the book "Immigration Wars" in television interviews and forums.

Comments like those from Bush, 60, are in sharp contrast to past refusals to even entertain the idea of following in the footsteps of his older brother, former President George W. Bush, and their father, former President George H.W. Bush.

Less than three years before the first Republican presidential primaries, Bush's words offer a window into his evolving thinking on a future run. Republicans and former advisers said that, if nothing else, he's made clear to political operatives and donors that they shouldn't count him out for 2016.

"He's sent a very strong signal this week that he, for the first time, is going to seriously, seriously consider running," said Cory Tilley, a former Bush aide in Florida. "It's the signal that a lot of people have been waiting to hear."

The scion to the Bush political dynasty left the Florida governor's office in 2007 but since then has remained a major figure in the GOP, mainly through his efforts to influence education and immigration policy. His book is his latest step on that front; in it, he urges Congress to revamp a broken immigration system that he says is holding back the nation's future and economic growth.

He caused a stir and irked some Republicans by writing that he did not support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Bush had expressed support for a pathway in the past, and later said he was open to a pathway to citizenship as long as it did not encourage illegal immigration.

That shift aside and even without the famous last name, Bush would have strong presidential candidate credentials. In the important swing-voting state of Florida, Bush racked up strong job performance ratings while revamping the state's educational system, reorganizing government, cutting taxes and managing the state through several hurricanes.

His wife, Columba, is Mexican-American and Bush is fluent in Spanish. He won over a diverse electorate of Hispanics in Florida. That personal and political history could help him to connect with Latinos, significantly more of whom voted for Obama than Republican Mitt Romney last fall.

Even so, Bush would have vulnerabilities as a candidate — perhaps the biggest being his last name.

George W. Bush was unpopular when he left office in 2009. He continues to have approval ratings below 50 percent, and exit polls conducted last November found more voters blamed the former president for the nation's economic woes than Obama.

Jeb Bush has expressed pride for his brother's time in the White House and said perceptions of his brother would not factor into his own future.

Until recently, he has consistently said he wasn't interested in pursuing national office. In a CBS News interview last year, he speculated that 2012 "was probably my time" to run for president, all but ruling out a future bid.

He's now consistently saying a version of what he told NBC: "Every election is a little different. And so I don't know. I don't know what the rhythm and pace of 2014 looks like, much less 2016. But I think you have to understand, though, that we need to be the governing party."

"For him not to rule this out immediately shows that there's more going on," said Slater Bayliss, a lobbyist and former Bush aide based in Tallahassee, Fla.

Much has happened since Bush departed the governor's office in Tallahassee in 2007. From the sidelines, he watched the Great Recession, the rise of both Obama and the tea party, and ongoing budget battles.

Despite his TV appearances, Bush's book tour does not exactly resemble the itinerary of a future presidential candidate — he has no immediate plans to go to Iowa and New Hampshire, the first states to hold nominating elections. He started the week in New York and planned to travel to Washington before weather forced event cancellations. Bush was scheduled to appear at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., on Friday, in the northern Kentucky suburbs of Cincinnati on March 14 and at a private event in Phoenix on March 18.

On March 15, Bush will keynote the Reagan dinner at the Conservative Political Action Conference, a plum speaking role at the annual gathering of prominent conservatives. And next month, George W. Bush will dedicate his presidential library in Dallas, bringing more attention to the Bush legacy.

Republicans say the younger Bush has plenty of time to consider his options.

"I don't think he has to have a master plan at this point. He can do well by doing good," said Sara Taylor Fagen, who was a political director for President George W. Bush. "If he chose to run it would ultimately accrue to him and his brand and his abilities."

Comments

The Big Dog's back

Hence the reason we bring up bush so often because you Repubs are in denial, and I don't mean the river.

4shizzle

I get the pun.

goofus

Hey teach, got a source for your dribble or is your source coasterfanmedia.com

44846GWP

Fat chance, the next President will be a woman, Mrs. Clinton.

Contango

LOL. In your dreams Zippy.

She had her shot and the Dems threw her overboard.

Michelle Obama would have a better chance.

deertracker

You would have a better chance than Jeb!

Now The Rest of...

you might be correct winnie, like Gov. Haley, Gov. Martinez, Condoleezza Rice all younger, more mainstream than Hillary who will be close to 70 in 2016, besides who would keep track of wild Bill.

4shizzle

Gov. Haley, Gov. Martinez, Condoleezza Rice are members of the irrelevant Republican Party, so that automatically makes them losers.

But Condoleezza Rice?

Partner in that despicable Bush administration?

No way.

Hillary has a strong chance of winning.

dont get it

Please, no more Bush's ever.....they are all stupid...especially W. blew up the wrong country, duh!

coasterfan

Love it! How true. Bush invading Afghanistan would be the same as if FDR invaded Mexico after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. I wasn't surprised. That's what happens when we elect a semi-literate, ne'er do well to office.

Now The Rest of...

semi-literate, which must mean a Harvard grad, who was a successful in private business, what Ivy League School do you hold a degree from? And no a GED would not quailfy.

Second Opinion

I’m tired of putting a clothes pin on my nose before voting, just to cast my vote for a lesser smelling offensive politician~! When are we going to have a REAL choice instead of candidates looking like identical twins! Also, I won’t vote for another Bush, I will sit it out

Hoss McGee

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Off-topic comments.

Darwin's choice

Ok coasterfan and big dog, her's a wet dream for you....................hillary CLINTON/OBAMA michelle in 2016 !!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA !

Bluto

Just turned on the telly and found what gets Thinkagain all sexed up ; P )))

thinkagain

Nice try butto!

Bluto

Nothing like a little creative editing when you get moderated . Like the saying goes "When life hands you lemons , you make lemonade " ; )))

coasterfan

I would take them in a heartbeat over most anything the GOP has to offer these days. Christie is the most sensible big name in Republican politics and likely the ony one with even a remote chance of winning in 2016, given the huge demographic deficit the party is staring at. So, what does the GOP do with their upcoming convention? They don't invite Christie, but do invite Romney, Palin, Rubio. And.. Get this: the convention slogan is (drum roll) "The Future Of the Republican Party".

The thing about the GOP is that the only time they are ever funny is when they are trying not to be.

Pterocarya frax...

You forgot to mention the comedian of the Republican party, Donald Trump, is also invited to CPAC.

kURTje

Hey GOP! If you do not want a Republican in the White House use Jeb. (I even like his 1rst name... so popular)

Dinghy Gal

What was that all about?

Centauri

(Your submission has triggered the spam filter and will not be accepted.)
"Gary Johnson is Now the Leader of the Libertarian Movement"

(Your submission has triggered the spam filter and will not be accepted.)
"Johnson participated in Reddit’s ‘Ask Me Anything’ on Tuesday and answered questions about a variety of topics, including the media, campaigning, gun rights and the economy. He advocated for spending cuts and criticized the media for playing into the two-party system of government."

(Your submission has triggered the spam filter and will not be accepted.)
"Starting in April, the 2012 Libertarian Party presidential nominee and former two-term governor of New Mexico told New Mexico Watchdog, his “Our America” initiative will kick off a series of speaking engagements across the country to spread his message of fiscal conservatism and social liberalism."

Centauri

http://www.adameve.com/
Get your butt plugs here.

Will I trip the spam filter?

FearistheMindKiller

Who cares? And why is this tripe in the Register?

Anybody with half a brain and common sense knows the president is puppet for the powerful elite LIBERALS and CONSERVATIVES.

Federal elections are a joke. Any of you who think they matter are a bunch of medicated, stoned, delusional idiots that watch way too much TV and actually believe the pathetic propaganda shoveled into your brains via newsprint and airwaves.

Gardenman

Lord NO.............I need no brother or clone etc of George W. Bush............My God did folks not have enought with "W". Voters can't be that stupid to vote for another Bush

arnmcrmn

Yes, they can. They voted Obama in for 4 more years.....derp!!!!

Now The Rest of...

Gardenman they demonstrated their stupidity, they re-elected obzo. I guess thats what hand outs buy today.

FearistheMindKiller

Centauri,

You are hilarious! Love the post. Why doesn't the SR have a list of banned words and phrases so we know what to avoid?

Contango

The Dems are being "blinded by the light."

On a state and local level, the Repubs now control 30 govenorships and numerous state houses.

To their detriment, the Dems are far too focused on the national level.

Peachy Keen

Just the thought of another Bush in the White House makes me throw up a little in my mouth.

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