Jeb Bush opens up about White House bid
March 4th, 2013
12:01 PM ET
2 years ago

Jeb Bush opens up about White House bid

(CNN) – In what appears to be his most in depth public comments regarding 2016, Jeb Bush says he's not ruling out a run for president.

And the former two-term Florida governor says he doesn't support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants living in the U.S

The comments come as Bush releases a new book on the issue of illegal immigration. He heads to two events over the next two weeks considered early cattle calls for Republican White House hopefuls.

Asked Monday morning on NBC's "The Today Show" if he was going to run in 2016, Bush said "that's way off in the future. I have a voice. I want to share my beliefs about how the conservative moment and the Republican Party can regain its footing, because we've lost our way."

Pressed by host Matt Lauer on whether he would not rule out a run for president in 2016, Bush answered "I won't. But I won't declare it today either."

Bush is doing television interviews this week to promote his new book "Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution." At the end of this week Bush heads to Coral Gables, Florida, to meet with GOP officials and top donors at the Republican National Committee's quarterly finance meetings. Bush will join other possible 2016 GOP contenders such as Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Next week Bush speaks at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference, a popular cattle call for Republicans considering bids for the White House. CPAC, which turns 40 this year, is the largest annual gathering of conservative leaders and activists, and it's boosted the presidential campaigns, or ambitions, of many Republican candidates. The annual CPAC GOP presidential nomination straw poll is considered a key gauge of conservative sentiment, and garners much media attention.

While most other Republicans considering 2016 runs are speaking at the conference, Christie was not invited. But Bush said it wasn't a big deal and said he's a big fan of the tough talking GOP governor of New Jersey.

"I love Christie. I think Gov. Christie is a part of the future of the Republican Party for sure, and whether he's going to CPAC or not is not really changing that."

Tuesday Bush speaks with CNN's Jake Tapper. That interview will run on CNN, including on "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

Bush, the younger brother of former President George W. Bush and son of former President George H.W. Bush, served two terms as governor of Florida, winning election in 1998 and re-election in 2002. He ruled out a run for the White House in 2012.

On the issue of immigration reform, Bush has criticized his party and has urged the GOP to embrace reform and to improve their outreach to minority voters and immigrant voters. But he says an eventual pathway to citizenship, which is supported by a bipartisan group of eight senators, would violate the rule of law. Bush, along with many other Republicans, is pushing for a path to legal permanent residency for many of the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants.

"Our proposal is a proposal that looks forward. And if we want to create an immigration policy that's going to work, we can't continue to make illegal immigration an easier path than legal immigration," said Bush. "I think it is important that there is a natural friction between our immigrant heritage and the rule of law. This is the right place, I think, to be in that sense. Not to take away people's rights."

– CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2016 • Jeb Bush
soundoff (194 Responses)
  1. ronjayaz

    Next week Bush speaks at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference, a popular cattle call for Republicans considering bids for the White House." And Christie wasnt invited?! Look for a switch to the Independent Party by Chris Christie eventually. Jeb signed his death warrant by coming out so soon against immigration reform. But then we *cudnt stand even the thought of another Bush in WH.

    March 4, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  2. v_mag

    The name "Bush" will guarantee 2 things for Jeb:

    1) He will have an "in" with the party and the ability to raise lots of money from the likes of the Kriminal Koch Konspirators.
    2) He will never be elected President.

    March 4, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  3. WilliG

    Today, I've seen numerous references, again, to Benghazi and the alleged cover-up. My concern is, and continues to be, that there were a dozen or more US Embassies/Consulates attacked while GW Bush was President, with many more people (including Americans) killed and wounded. I don't recall the Republicans (IE McCain and Graham) going postal over that. Why was that? Or to bring up a contentious point, GHW Bush did a superb job with the Gulf War. Iraq was fully contained. Along come GW Bush, then 9/11, then Iraq- WMD, nuclear ambitions, advance biological weapons, direct ties with the Al Qaeda and Bin Laden. Well, all were proven absolutely false. GW admitted this publicly and heads rolled in the CIA. Remember? 1,000's of dead American soldiers, 10,000's of Iragi civilians dead and billions of dollars later, yet no outrage from the Republicans. I really have a problem with this hypocrisy.

    March 4, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  4. NickAnast

    As long as Jeb opposes a path to citizenship as part of immigration reform, he will never get the support of the growing Hispanic community, and thus will never be elected president.

    March 4, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    Certainly explains why hes doing a complete 180 and now opposing a pathway to citizenship as part of immigration reform. Gotta survive those primaries and THEN shake the Etch-A-Sketch.

    March 4, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  6. Alan

    After the long lasting "DAMAGE" his brother did to not only this countries financial situation but the worlds perception of this country, the name of Bush, associated with this family will NEVER win in the national politics game again. We can actually thank and blame Justice Scalia for tipping the vote of the Supreme Court to 'JR' or '43' as he is also remembered as. Actually those 537 more Floridians who voted for Bush than Gore are more responsible for changing history than anyone. Jeb – go away, your apple may be close to #41's tree, but thanks to your brother's damage, my daughter's grandchildren will be paying off the debt we acquired thru your tax cuts for the wealthy and 2 Wars we didn't need to get into. Go away!

    March 4, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  7. ellid

    America is not a monarchy. The Presidency is not a hereditary office. Two Bushes is quite enough, and if this person doesn't recognize that, he deserves the drubbing he'll get.

    March 4, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  8. tom burke

    Here in Florida, he was liked only(mostly) in North Florida. The rest of the state had mixed feelings and that`s a negative. He `s perceived as a polished Dick Cheney which would work against him. He was a buddy of the full-time NRA lobbyist and former NRA president, Marion Hammer.In this environment, that`s also a negative. I think he has too much baggage to be successful nationally.

    March 4, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  9. ThinkAgain

    The last thing we need is another Bush in the White House. And the only reason the GOP is floating his name is because his wife, Columba, is Hispanic (born in Mexico). This is just another cynical ploy by the GOP to dupe folks into voting against their own self-interest ... AGAIN!

    March 4, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  10. Strangways

    Jeb might have made a good president, but he was mightily scrod by George's decision to run and steal the 2000 selection and all the mayhem and mediocrity that followed during his two terms. Jeb can write all the books he wants, America still has Bush Fatigue.

    March 4, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  11. Cogsboy

    Unfortunately for the GOP, if the candidate of choice is a pedigree of the white establishment without a hint of empathy or experience as a middle-class citizen, then he ("she" won't be considered in to lead the GOP for a while) will not be able to win 270 electrorial college votes in 2016.

    March 4, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    The LAST thing we need is another Bush in the WH. Oh, God...please no!

    March 4, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  13. Keith T. Maxwell

    If the GOP doesn't nominate Chris Christie, get ready to refer to Hilary Clinton as "Madam President"....

    March 4, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  14. Gurgyl

    No new Bush...enough!!!

    March 4, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  15. ThinkAgain

    Where's the list of big GOP donors from the 2012 elections? I want to see who we can expect to see bankroll o' Jebby here. I bet you'd see a lot of foreign nationals and corporations topping the list ... why bother to bomb us when you can donate to a Republican and destroy our country from the inside out?

    March 4, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  16. ritmocojo

    Deja-vu all over again. Again.

    March 4, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  17. drmillhouse

    Getting a Bush back into the white house is just what America needs! I think he would make a much better leader than we have now and would actually get things done. Jeb Bush 2016!!

    March 4, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  18. Around

    Good grief, NOT ANOTHER ONE!

    March 4, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  19. bill

    He stuck us with stand your ground law.

    March 4, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  20. us_1776

    Jeb Bush couldn't get elected garbage collector let alone anything else.

    .

    March 4, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  21. Always lying

    Hell NO! NO MORE BUSH'S!

    March 4, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  22. ironman59

    We don't need a bush trilogy in the history of this nation. It didn't go all that great when we had a 2nd Adams as POTUS. A 2nd bush was a disaster and a 3rd would be the ruin of this country.

    March 4, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  23. Expat American

    Expect Cheney to return to the fold. Where there is a Bush, there is a Cheney.

    March 4, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  24. Margaret

    I would like to see no more Bush family members in politics for the rest of my life. I am old, so that is not too much to ask. Remember the John Adams family, 2 presidents no more.

    March 4, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  25. Larry in Houston

    If I was Christy, and after getting the snubbing he got – lol – I would change parties – to either a dem, or Independent. I saw the interview w/ Laur on the today show – ol uncle Jeb had better be ready for all the mud slinging they are going to throw at him. From his brother's "failures" and to stealing the presidency – to the Saddam regime / Iraq / WMD's & the whole 9 yards. I mean the press isn't going to give "uncle Jeb" a pass, that's for sure. They're going to relate everything that "Dubya" done that was "dumb" and "Tag" 'ol uncle Jeb. ( and will say it "runs in the family" ) LOL

    March 4, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
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