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. JET

    She is wise. She understands how it would look if Jeb was elected as well.
    Bush after Bush after Bush after Bush in the presidency.

    Forget it Jeb

    April 25, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  2. Wes Scott

    Jeb, for the sake of the country, Democrats, Independents and liberals everywhere PLEASE run! We LOVE having the Bush family name to kick around. And, you have a wonderful slate of "qualified" running mates, too! Paul Ryan, Michelle Bachmann, Rand Paul, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ralphie Reed, hek, you might even dig up ole Dan "Potatoe" Quayle to reprise the Bush-Quayle ticket one more time.

    Actually, the perfect "Dumb and Dumber" ticket would have been your brother and Quayle – truly every comedian's dream ticket.

    April 25, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  3. Bushmaster special

    Oh yeah. We have had enough BUSHES thats for sure.

    April 25, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  4. Smitty

    Listen to momma. The world is laughing at the rest of the family.

    April 25, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  5. 66Biker

    Yeah, right. Now it's all but guaranteed he's going to run. This is a very weak attempt by the Republicons to make people think he won't run because Mommy Dearest wouldn't like it. Do they really think people are that stoopid?

    April 25, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  6. Chaos

    We wouldn't want another chance to mess with her "beautiful mind".

    April 25, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  7. Thomas

    She is absolutely right !

    After seeing GW Bush this week talk of his legacy . I feel sick .

    April 25, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  8. JW

    Well by golly, I would take his mother's advice and not run! She is absolutely right, there have by far been ENOUGH Bushes in office. At least one of the Bushes has enough smarts to realize they've dampered this economy and we need no more Bush agenda. Thanks Mrs. Bush, you've officially proven your the smartest of the bunch!

    April 25, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  9. Josh

    "... and we've had enough Bushes"

    Too bad she didn't say that to W.

    April 25, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  10. JenniferC

    "He'll get all of our enemies and half of our friends." So true! Sharp lady. Very gracious to acknowledge that it there are other qualified people beyond the Bush Clinton Kennedy types of dynasties, too.

    April 25, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  11. Lynda/Minnesota

    Well. Well. Well.
    Jeb Bush can't even get an endorsement from his own mother.
    What a conundrum ... yes, GOPers?

    April 25, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  12. Steve

    I've always liked Laura Bush. She is the only one in that family with sensible, moderate views and common sense. Good for her for saying it like it is 🙂

    April 25, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  13. The Real Tom Paine

    Can't wait to see the reactions on this.

    April 25, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  14. Jeb2016 - We owe it to the Bushes to give them another shot at bringing down the country

    Barbara was always my favorite Bush.

    April 25, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |

    Finally, the fat lady sings-

    April 25, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  16. Joe

    Even Barbara Bush knows that another Bush in office will suck for America.

    April 25, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  17. juststopthis

    Why is America deciding or debating between the Bushes and Clintons? haven't we had enough? let's get some fresh faces, please!

    April 25, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  18. Roger

    The Bush family is one of the most successful political dynasties in American history.

    April 25, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  19. ObamaLuver69

    Yet another Bush trying to take the spotlight away from Obama. I'm thinking about starting a petition at WhiteHouse.gov to allow the president to serve more than two terms. Obama definitely deserves it.

    April 25, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  20. skippy

    It would be a TRAIN WRECK if he ran! Listen to your Mother Jeb.

    April 25, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  21. Andy Taylor

    Two too many.

    April 25, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  22. Chris

    Whose enemies is she talking about? Bush family enemies or the Taliban? What an odd thing to mention; a family's enemies.

    April 25, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  23. GI Joe

    It's three years away and she thinks her widdle baby boy is the "most qualified"? Do tell. Who else is running - FOR SURE - no speculation.

    April 25, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  24. Dino

    Jeb Bush reminds me of John Candy but I'd rather Uncle Buck be the president if he were still around.

    April 25, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  25. Lilli

    Mrs Bush is right....no more Bush's!!

    April 25, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
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