The Talk Begins: Jeb Bush in 2016
Friday, 23 Nov 2012 11:13 AM
By Sandy Fitzgerald
The talk has already started about a possible 2016 presidential bid by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, but before that happens friends say he'll be busy rebuilding his personal wealth and restoring his family's relationship with the Republican Party.
If he decides to seek the GOP nomination, it could put a damper on any plans by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio to run in four years, according to The New York Times.
But for now, "It's neither a 'no' nor a 'yes' — it’s a ‘wait and see,'"Al Cardenas, chairman of the American Conservative Union and a longtime Bush friend and advisor, told the Times.
After this year's loss to President Barack Obama, Republicans are looking for a candidate who can appeal to a different voter demographic that's no longer dominated by white men and women. Many Republicans believe that Bush fits the bill as someone who can attract Hispanics and other minorities without sacrificing his conservative values.
His supporters note that Bush's wife, Columba, was born and raised in Mexico. Bush, who speaks Spanish, also favors overhauling immigration laws to provide a route to citizenship for people already in the country illegally but who are otherwise law-abiding.
His appeal to conservatives in the party on key social issues is strong, however. For example, he is against abortion, and he supports school choice and tougher performance standards.
Still, some worry that Bush could have a difficult time navigating the feelings within the party about his father and brother. On the one hand, there is still some nostalgia for his father, former President George H.W. Bush, but some ill feelings toward his brother, former President George W. Bush, who started the Wall Street bailouts that Obama inherited and increased the size of government during his eight years in office.
But his friends say that's the least of his worries in deciding whether to pursue a third Bush family presidency. According to the Times, he is worried about how a presidential run could affect his sons' own political aspirations.
Jeb Bush Jr., 29, who said earlier this week that he hopes his father does run for president, has founded a political action committee to recruit and promote Hispanic candidates. At the same time, George P. Bush, 36, has filed in Texas to run for the post of land commissioner.