April 25th, 2013
09:33 AM ET
5 years ago

Barbara Bush on Jeb in 2016: ‘We've had enough Bushes’

(CNN) – While former President George W. Bush says he wants his brother Jeb to run for president in 2016, their always-blunt mother said Thursday she feels differently.

“He's by far the best qualified man, but no. I really don't,” she said when asked if her son, the former Florida governor, will make a White House bid.

“I think it's a great country. There are a lot of great families, and it's not just four families or whatever. There are other people out there that are very qualified and we've had enough Bushes,” she said.

Her comments came Thursday morning on NBC’s “Today,” as the former first lady sat alongside former first lady Laura Bush and Bush 43’s twin daughters, Jenna Bush Hager (a correspondent for NBC) and Barbara Bush. The three generations were together for the George W. Bush Presidential Center dedication ceremony in Dallas.

Asked if the Bush matriarch had expressed her feelings to Jeb, Jenna Bush Hager jumped in.

“Well, now!” she said, looking somewhat shocked at her sister and mother. “Surprise!”

“He’s the most qualified but I don't think he'll run,” Barbara Bush added. “There are other families. He'll get all our enemies, half of our friends.”

In a brief email exchange Thursday morning with Jeb Bush, CNN characterized his mother's comment as priceless. In a two-word response, Jeb wrote: "Priceless indeed!"

George W. Bush, who's stepping back into the spotlight with the opening of his presidential library, told CNN’s John King in an interview that aired Wednesday that he wants his brother to run.

"Well, big Jeb, you know, he's got a decision to make. And if I could make it for him, it'd be, 'run,' but I can't," he said.

"And I don't know what he's going to do,” he added. “He'd be a great candidate and a great president."

Jeb Bush hasn't ruled out a possible GOP run and won't make a decision in the near future. Asked last month by CNN's Jake Tapper if he'll decide in 2014, Bush said, "the only thing I've decided is I'm not going to think about it for 2013. It's just too far out for me personally."

According to a CNN/ORC International poll released late last month, 56% of Republicans have a favorable opinion of the former governor, with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan being the only potential 2016 GOP contender with higher marks.

If he did win the nomination, Jeb Bush might face another family legacy on the Democratic ticket should former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, wife of former President Bill Clinton, decide to run and ultimately become her party’s nominee.

- CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Filed under: Barbara Bush • George W. Bush • Jeb Bush • Jenna Bush
soundoff (272 Responses)
  1. John

    As a Democrat, I would say that Jeb would have made a far superior president to his older brother; unfortunately, Jeb's woefully in-over-his-head kid brother and his disastrous tenure ruined any chances for another Bush in the White House. At least for another few decades, while a new history-ignoring generation comes to voting age and votes one in.

    April 25, 2013 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  2. robert82

    Clinton vs. Bush would be a great one! But I would hope Clinton would only serve one term and pick a good VP that can take over, doing away with a messy primary.

    April 25, 2013 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  3. Raymond

    Barbara old girl you are so right this country can't stand another Bush as President !!!

    April 25, 2013 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  4. John Stockton

    Boay, listen to yo' mama!!!

    April 25, 2013 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  5. bigfoot

    We have had enough Bushes for TWENTY lifetimes. They have done enough damage for 100 lifetimes.

    April 25, 2013 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  6. cosmok

    Jimmy Carter an ok President? I guess my standards are a lot higher. Under Jimmy Carter we had high unemployment, double-digift inflation, double-digit interest rates, gas rationing, and the botched Iran hostage rescue plan, Operation Eagle Claw.But if you think that's being an ok President, then ok.

    April 25, 2013 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  7. pfreel

    President Carter an okay president. A good man, but if he was an okay president then what do you consider bad president? Oh, that`s right President Bush was the evil seed that didn't have clue. Okay then what would you call President Obama, because he is making President Bush look like an okay president. Oh that is right, President Obama has nothing to do with any of the problems, but if things got better he would certainly take all the credit. Forgot we are already exceeding our credit limit. Print me some more money, please.

    April 25, 2013 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  8. Woman In California

    Personally, I've had enough of both families.

    April 25, 2013 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  9. jack

    really Joe Biden for president .well you know with all you bleeding heart liberals. we have a wannabe celebrity in the white house right now sacrificing your futures and kids and there kids futures. but your to dumb to see it.you can buy the presidency if you have broken promises to get the votes.you have to spend money to bring back jobs.Obama is not going to save this country .were all going to be depending on the gov because knuckle heads like you voted for a guy who wants to be celebrity and not the commander in chief..oh and the media covers up the truth.Benghazi was covered up by barrack and hillery..i am just going sit back and laugh at all the Buttheads on here. we also don't have a budget.this president has not had a budget yet.oh it's all the republicans fault.But he had a democrat controlled senate and congress when he came into the white house. he still couldn't pass it.,we keep giving debt money to terrorist controlled countries.But it's ok if the president plays golf with tiger woods or travels or sends his wife and kids on trips to everywhere while people suffer to pay bill and look for jobs.But if he promotes a burger joint you will be there to eat.But that's ok..maybe he will get you a knew phone and phone plan if you keep believing..The American dream is riding out of town on the back of a camel in saudi arabia or somewhere else where were feeding future jihadist ready to go to college in America on your taxes that you pay just to bomb yeah later to say thanks for the education ..

    April 25, 2013 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  10. Jennifer NY

    He is too far right extreme, not maintstream for one thing, and for another, word on the street is he is a womanizer. Remember he was Governr when they tried to keep a brain-dead woman alive to pretemd he is pro-life. Goodbye to birth control and abortion. The country does not want any more Bushes.

    April 25, 2013 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  11. Name Skyblue45

    I'm an unenrolled voter. As much as I would love Mrs. Clinton to run for President I believe her recent health scare will make her decide it's time to slow down and enjoy the rest of her life. I would love to see Condy Rice run. Regarding Jeb Bush, I think he would make a great candidate if he wishes to run. I just thought, Condy is a Republican–let's see: Diane Feinstein or Patty Murray vs. Jeb Bush!!!

    April 25, 2013 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  12. Woman In California

    @ Jackie Treehorn

    Amen. Both families made hugh mistakes which cost us in the long run.

    April 25, 2013 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  13. USAPeasant

    Lol well what do you know, Barbara Bush is the obvious brains of the family. No more Bushes!

    April 25, 2013 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  14. Luke

    Jeb is too moderate. Hillary is too bitter. Joe is too foolish. Marco is too wishy-washy. No one excites me. We will see what happens. The candidates will probably be folks we do not expect.

    April 25, 2013 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  15. AJ Murphy

    Most of what I here is a bunch of democrats that cant see past their nose that the change they requested hasn't amounted to a hill of beans. Reagan and Carter were the last good examples we had of moral, intelligent, hard working presidents. Bush Sr wasnt bad and neither was Bush Jr, at least you didnt have them getting their poles smoked in the oval office or spending money on multi-million dollar vacations an inagural ceremonies when the country continues into the crapper. Some of you may or may not be prior service, but for those that arent, put yourself in my shoes, being active Ive seen more crap than you tv watching, barely enough info having, biased opinion types. And to tell you the truth it wasnt just these presidents that were in office faults, every damn over payed liberal and conservative on the hill had their hand in the mess with their own agendas, so how about we have people own up to it, make the cuts now that we need or later we arent going to be cutting hours from government employees we will be cutting positions permanently and it will affect the future of EVERYONES kids in getting a good job, government or non-government.

    April 25, 2013 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  16. lynette

    Mother knows best!!! please not more bushes – we're cleaning up from ashes now.

    April 25, 2013 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  17. jodyhall77

    You're right William House. If the Democrats could just find a new ban or tax to solve every problem that( THEY!!) created, eliminate the private sector and infinitely expand the federal government we would all be better off.

    April 25, 2013 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  18. El Lobo

    The thought of another bush spawn in the WH is pretty abhorrent.

    April 25, 2013 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  19. gahh

    It's called Money, look at all the money Bush made, by selling out to Corporate America. He gave 9 hundred billion taxpayer dollars to Wall Street, in return, he's a multi- millionaire and has a 3 hundred million dollar Lie-bary named after him. Think where we would be, if Bush hadn't been a Christian Conservative. Face it, we're lucky to be alive after GW Bush. No more Bushes, ever!

    April 25, 2013 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  20. james

    GO BUSH!!! I will vote for you!

    April 25, 2013 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  21. Namemicmacman

    oh god

    April 25, 2013 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  22. Northern neighbour

    With George W.'s endorsement, Jeb would be a lock for the nomination ... for dogcatcher.

    April 25, 2013 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  23. Peter Gerdeman

    Jeb, please listen to your mom. Most of us have had enough of Bushes storming into office, and starting wars. Your direct involvement with Terri Schaivo means you too, are over-reactive and bring invasive government.

    April 25, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  24. Loathstheright

    Listen to your mother, Jeb. The Bush crime family has done enough damage to the country.

    April 25, 2013 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  25. Eric G

    Rest of America:
    We agree, don't run Jeb.

    April 25, 2013 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
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