(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.
Please God spare us. Do not condemn us to another Bush. 1st Bush – 4 years, 2nd Bush – 8 years, and a thrid would make it a total of 16 years of Bush. That is too cruel; not even the Devil would do something so bad.
NO. Just NO. No, No, No. NO.
The first bushman started ONE war. The second bushman started TWO wars. Do we need to fight THREE wars on credit?
If you think so then go ahead with the third bushman...
When George W was asked about his brother running for President in 2016, he responded "I like turtles"..
I am not a Republican and can't see myself ever being one, but Bush's statement that illegal immigration should not be made easier than legal immigration makes a whole lot of sense to me.
Everybody wants to be President of America, because they believe that the voters are stupid.
I guess the Bush's are out for round three to ciphen money from the Government
Remember posters what Jeb did for big brother rigging Floridas election against Gore..Republicans knew he cheated but said what the hell a win is a win never the less,the same goes for all their politicians today doesn't it!!
Nobody from the Bush family has any chance in my lifetime. The way the news media demonized W, half the country thinks he lied us into war even though the existence of WMD were a fact. The sheeple now believe the "official" story.
The GOP is stupid if they don't put their support behind Christie. He is the ONLY Repub that appeals to me as a Democrat.
I wouldn't rule out another butt-whipping. Go ahead, Jeb, make our day.
I dont think the country need another Bush, in fact the country was so sick of GW, it lead to Obama's win. Bushes are bad news, republicans are bad news, so are the democrats bad news. Everything is bad news.
If this country is collectively stupid enough to elect another Bush, it deserves to go down the drain!
Just how did the Bush clan become so indispensable to the country? Bush, Clinton, Kennedy, ... we surely have people qualified to serve in our highest offices from other families. (... and I like Elder Bush and the Clintons, but sheesh).
I heard that a house fell on him...
Who cares? Seriously, another Bush?
You heard it hear first – No way am I voting for another BUSH!
Dear God in Heaven, spare us from another Bush! I cannot imagine the American electorate ever being so obtuse as ever to put another one of them in the White House.
i am a democrat, but like chris christie. i cannot BELIEVE that the gop did not invite him to CPAC....talk about a self-inflicted injury!.......as for jeb – no, thank you.....we're still recovering from his nit-wit brother.....
Oh PLEAZZZZZEEEEEE! Please Jeb, run in 2016, please... I can't wait to see him standing right next to "DUBYA" and smirking... what a picture.
The GOP could probably rule out winning a Presidential election anytime soon.
The very last thing this country needs is another Bush. I hope we have learned our lesson after the totally inept George "Mission Accomplished" Bush administration.
I;ve already ruled out voting for this guy. Too much Bush baggage.
God help us, or someone! Not another member of t he Bush family going run for President. Have we as a nation not suffered enough with 8 years of Dubya?
Jeb, think clearly on t his, please decide to continue to be a part of the private sector, please???
May God help us