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

luvblues2

For the love of humanity, NO MORE BUSHES!!!

Gwill

I'd rather have four straight decades of Bushes if my other choice was similar to Obama.

deertracker

You must like war. Got any kids in the military?

Contango

Let's see what he's got. So far, I'm not impressed. Looks like just another RINO.

Pterocarya frax...

My brother is as extreme a liberal as you will find anywhere. He lived in Florida for many years, including through the Jeb era, and he spoke very highly of Jeb as a governor.

When the far left wing nutjobs speak highly of a Republican, you know that person has no chance to get through a Republican primary.

coasterfan

He seems like a traditional Republican to me. If he appears to be a RINO to you, it's because you have moved wayyyyyyyyyy far to the right.

Contango

@ coasterfan:

Enjoy U.S. style socialism while it lasts - because it won't and can't.

Moved away from the Dumb and Dumber parties several decades ago.

Bluto

He's already flopping on his stance on immigration . The GOP will never win the next election if the candidates again cater to the wackos within their own party .

thinkagain

The candidate BHO catered to wackos...

Bluto

Hey , I'm just trying to give Republicans some helpful advice , but I can see it now , they will self implode again . Mark my words , they stay the course , Democrats will take the election by a landslide . The Republicans need to do some weeding in their garden.

arnmcrmn

In all fairness. Obama scared everyone on a government paycheck by basically saying, go out and vote for me, Ill keep that check coming. If you don't, you probably wont be seeing a paycheck anymore.

coasterfan

Agreed.

Licorice Schtick

They rolled out Dubya to redeem H.W.

Now they want Jeb to redeem Dubya.

coasterfan

He has his work cut out for him. W was, without a doubt, the worst president in at least the last 80 years.

arnmcrmn

Until Obama came along. He will take that crown by a landslide. You guys forget, the nation was doing well, and growing 6/8 years under GWB. Just accept the facts and move on. Under Obama, this nation has become a sinkhole literally. EVERYTHING is worse....and not in a good way.

pntbutterandjelly

And then came...the MIGHTY CRASH! The house of cards created by the Republican lead Plutocracy left us to pay the bills.
It is Barack's fault that the Dow Jones is setting new record highs.
It is Barack's fault that we have all but left one war behind.
It is Barck's fault that unemploymet has dropped to 7.7%.
It is Barck's fault that the sky is blue.
Everything that is right is wrong because of Barack.

Fromthe419

No more Bush's or Clinton's, for God's sakes it is not a monarchy. Proof positive we need a third party that represents the people. Preferably someone that is not backed by the Council for Foreign Relations.

Now The Rest of...

When his brother left office, my total federal tax bill was lower, gas was under $2 a gallon, unemployment was at the present level in spite of a $800+ billion stimulus that failed, the federal debt was a third lower and every two bite dictator wasn't giving us the finger, my health insurance bill was lower and I wasn't expected to pay for the health insurance of every lazy fool. I'am better off that 4 years ago, no! Not sure who I will vote for in 2016 but with the young minorities & women in the Republican Party like, , Senators; Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Tim Scott and Ted Cruz or governors; Bobby Jindal, Susana Martinez, Nikki Haley among others I sure will have choices that will scare the hell out of the dems who will offer career politicians senior citizens Biden or Hillary.

deertracker

What planet are you on?

Darwin's choice

Deertracker, since you're research challenged, here's something for you, on this planet, and all on obama...march 6 2009, to march 6 2013...... •Dow Jones Industrial Average: Then 14164.5; Now 14164.5
•Regular Gas Price: Then $2.75; Now $3.73
•GDP Growth: Then +2.5%; Now +1.6%
•Americans Unemployed (in Labor Force): Then 6.7 million; Now 13.2 million
•Americans On Food Stamps: Then 26.9 million; Now 47.69 million
•Size of Fed's Balance Sheet: Then $0.89 trillion; Now $3.01 trillion
•US Debt as a Percentage of GDP: Then ~38%; Now 74.2%
•US Deficit (LTM): Then $97 billion; Now $975.6 billion
•Total US Debt Oustanding: Then $9.008 trillion; Now $16.43 trillion
•US Household Debt: Then $13.5 trillion; Now 12.87 trillion
•Labor Force Particpation Rate: Then 65.8%; Now 63.6%
•Consumer Confidence: Then 99.5; Now 69.6
•S&P Rating of the US: Then AAA; Now AA+
•VIX: Then 17.5%; Now 14%
•10 Year Treasury Yield: Then 4.64%; Now 1.89%
•EURUSD: Then 1.4145; Now 1.3050
•Gold: Then $748; Now $1583
•NYSE Average LTM Volume (per day): Then 1.3 billion shares; Now 545 million shares

Pterocarya frax...

Umm, you might want to be a bit more careful where you copy and paste from, because many of those numbers are off. Here is one example:

Dow closed 3/6/09 @ 6626.94

http://mutualfunds.about.com/b/2...

Darwin's choice

You're correct, that is the only one wrong! However, all others are showing obama's poor leadership.

Contango

@ Darwin's choice:

IMO, your point is: The fundamentals are poor.

Only by the "grace" of Bernanke is this economy holding up. Fiscally, this country is in trouble.

BTW: The Dow is a price-based avg., the S&P which is a cap-based index hasn't reached new highs.

On inflation adj. basis the Dow is still about 12% off the yr. 2000 highs.

Now The Rest of...

deertracker I understand facts always confuse liberals, but please run bozo Biden or Benghazi Hillary.

jas

Either Biden or Clinton would be far better than anybody the GOP has. GOP candidates must get the blessing of the Tea Baggers. By doing so, they have ZERO chance of appealing to the general public. When will the GOP realize that their radical conservative extremist ideas are unacceptable to a vast majority of Americans? Last I checked, most elections are won by getting a majority of the votes with the exception of the 2000 Presidential election. The GOP can't rely on the undemocratic Electoral College to save their behinds every election.

arnmcrmn

zero chance at appealing to the uneducated and non working public.....there I fixed it for you.

jas

Spoken like a true elitist Republican. I bet you think the "uneducated and non working public" shouldn't have the right to vote. Sounds more like a Monarchy than a Democracy but that has always been the GOP's preference - absolute control by the ruling class.

tell it how it is

The same one the rest of us are on,
besides you apparently.

Then again, you're probably one of the people the rest of us are paying for.

coasterfan

Gas hit an alltime high of ave. $4.31 per gallon in summer 2008. Unemployment was growing exponentially each month throughout the 2nd half of 2008. The general consensus of economists is that the stimulus did work, and did do exactly what it was designed to do. America's reputation around the world was greatly damaged during the Bush years, thanks to two unnecessary wars on foreign soil. You were already paying for other people's insurance, in the form of higher insurance premiums and higher doc/hospital fees. Finally, the Rubios and Jindals don't scare us Dems. Those people are just the sort of teaparty extremists that will never win a national election. In closing, it's always the GOP who nominates geriatric candidates, not Democrats. You are truly delusional....

Now The Rest of...

Gas was brought down by issuing new drilling permits and releasing federal oil reserves, what has obzo done who now has the highest sustained prices in our history. If the stimulus worked were is the 6% unemployment obzo promised with the failed stimulus while increasing the federal debt by a third the most by any President. All while obzo continues his give aways at the expense of the middle class. International standing under obzo, the Arab spring where some of the most anti-America governments has came to power, Iran & North Korea thumbing their finger at us; knowing obzo doesn't have a clue. Keep on telling yourself that the young Republicans don't scare you, I think its called whistling as you walk past the graveyard of the liberal democratic party.

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