(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.
Jeb may have been the best of the Bush family- but after GW, I would tend to think he might need to consider something extreme- like changing his last name to even get a glimmer of electoral hope- Then there is the fact his party has just started to take the economy down again.
GOD help us! Not again.
He's the best of the Bushes so far. But that's not saying much. Get one of W's daughters to run. I like them better.
Forget it. Your brother destroyed any chance you may have had.
Yes, Jeb-ya – RUN – Run far away and take your crazy family with you!
Grear, cannot wait to see what war "this one" starts, all to settle some perceived slight to "daddy".
Boy, Hillary is gonna win by a landslide. Jeb Bush isn't going to run anyway if Hillary runs. Why else do you think the GOP has marched the waterboy Mark Rubio out front? Democrats will have the White House and soon both chambers of Congress for the next 12-16 years.
Which countries are you going to start a war with Jeb if you're elected? That's easy- whichever ones produces a lot of oil!
Lord knows Jeb couldn't be any worse than what we have now. With Obama as president there's only way to go when he's replaced.............UP.
So Jeb, what do you propose we do with all those illegals? Should they self deport? Or should we arrest and deport them through the system we have? That won't cost too much now will it? More of the same ridiculous nonsense we have heard for two Presidential election cycles.
We all know, what you did in Florida in 2000. All the people that would be alive today, if Gore hadn't been cheated out of the election. Gore would have never attacked Iraq or Afghanistan and wasted hundred of thousands of lives. Our debt would be no where, what it is today. Go crawl up your brother's rear, that's where you really belong. Take your idiot son, George the 3rd or 4th, with you.
There is no way you can win with the dums voting 4 and 5 times at the polls.
Maybe Jeb can ask his brother what happened to the pallets of US currency that disappeared from the Iraq runway. Or better yet, maybe McCain and Graham can finally hold a hearing about the disappearance.
LOL. As a registered democrat I can only pray that Jeb wins the nomination for republican presidential candidate in 2016.
Please run. Unelectable.
Yes run Jeb...Just like McCain and Romney, you are a sure winner for the Democratic party
If the first Bush didn't do enough damage, then the GOP minions send in a son of a Bush who immediately starts not 1 war like his father, but 2, sending 5,000 of our best to their deaths and crippling this country financially. What sad, is I believe republicans are stupid enough to elect another son of a Bush.
PLEASE SAY IT ISN'T SO! Two were do nothings were definitely enough. BTW, remember the S & L bailouts. Guess who benefited from the bailout of First Broward??? Go ahead look it up.
Yeah, the name "Bush" has the same polarizing effect as the name "Clinton," only Bush isn't backed by a widely-respected presidential legacy.
Jeff is you promise to send your brother and Cheney to the Hague for their War Crimes while invading and attacking Iraq that left over 200,000 innocent Iraqi babies, women and men dead and more than 20,000 of our soldiers while destroying our economic then I will vote for you.
Based on the comments here, sounds like another Bush candidacy is a sure thing – LOL.
Sorry , next war MAYBE we want it by 3030. !!
Could the Republican Party really scrape that deep into the bottomless barrel? Probably, after all they really don't have much a drawing pool or should I say drawing fools.
Anyone would be better than the idiot who currently resides in the White House.
Any Bush..including a ROSE Bush would be an improvement over the Charlitan-In -Chief we have now.