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. David Saroff

    George H W almost did not come out of the ordeal unscathed is known as a mediocre president. George W has been easily defined as one of the worst presidents we have had. Essentially, Barbara knows what she is talking about. Jeb does not have fire, drive or stamina for what it takes to be President. In the end, he will be an "also ran" news bite and further embarrassment to the Bush family (thanks to GW).

    April 25, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  2. Ken

    II agree with Mom on this one... He would make a great President.. Better then the Bushes ahead of him. I mean look what he has done for Florida... He would do the same for the Country. But the left will make him look like the other Bushes and he will probably lose by a slim margin to Hillary. What makes Hillary wining funny is... If Obama can get into office (Twice), she is a shoe in.. And that my friends is scary.... But only a testament on how this country is going to hell in a hand basket. Thankfully I will be retired soon and I will no longer care what you twits do to the country

    April 25, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  3. oldbones24

    Florida is still reeling from the damage done by Jeb, oh yea lets get the whole country in this quagmire. Mrs. Bush is right, he should NOT run for anything!

    April 25, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  4. John

    56% of Republicans have a favorable opinion of the name Bush. 98% know nothong more about him than he was Governor of Florida. We already had two lousy presidents from that family we sure don't need a third!

    April 25, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  5. boyscout

    Ye listen to your mother jebby. America has had quite enough of the bush crime syndicate

    April 25, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  6. Steve-O

    I agree. We've had enough Bushes.

    April 25, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |

    I'm with Barbara on this one. GW did enough damage to this country for the entire family. Anyone notice the guy hasn't been seen or heard from since he left office until now? He knows he messed up bad and has been under a rock since! Besides, I doubt the guy even knows how to read so why are they dedicating a library to him?

    April 25, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  8. Gabrielle from Minneapolis,MN

    OMG she is so right...Really does Jeb really think he has a chance after what his brother did? Believe you me does he really want to run because the story on the Iraq things I think are going to get nasty for Cheney,Bush, Rice they all should be in jail for killing all those Americans and Cheney making millions on the death of others...they lied they need to be held accountable..if you can go after Nixon you certainly should go after those three...

    April 25, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  9. BeverlyNC

    Listen to your Mama, Jeb. The country is done with any more Bush destroyers in any office where leadership. honesty, character, and decisions on foreign policy are involved. Retire and let America finish recovering your brother's mess.

    April 25, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  10. Mike

    Barbara Bush is one of the few GOPers that I tend to agree with a lot (especially in this case). I think that's because, unlike most GOPers, she tells people what she REALLY thinks and doesn't give a **** about how the party feels about it, nor has she ever (i.e. her views on abortion). Definitely a tough, classy lady who has earned my respect time and again despite our differing political views.

    April 25, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  11. Bill

    Americans do not need to this woman to tell them that "we've had enough Bushes". We have come to that conclusion long ago.

    April 25, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  12. Steve

    HA ! BARBARA BUSH FOR PREZ ! She has more good sense than all the male Bushes combined !

    April 25, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  13. Fupped Duck

    Finally a Bush with a Bush that makes some sense! Listen to your mama Jeb!!!

    April 25, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  14. Tony

    No kidding. Although Jeb is better than George, he will not beat Hillary.

    April 25, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  15. Palin Power

    We do not need another Bush in the White House. We need Sarah Palin in the White House. Sarah Palin will completely change the GOP and clean it of the Bush Neocon taint.

    April 25, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  16. jonnyg

    Liberals need to find out who the GOP candidates are as soon as possible so they can begin bashing them. That is what this is about.

    April 25, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  17. ST

    I like very much this former First Lady. She is an outspoken person and she tells it as it is. She was the only person in the whole Republican Party who said the woman in Alaska should stay there and take care of her kids. She is now talking about someone of her own and what she says in 120% true. You are really a classic lady Barbara Bush.

    April 25, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  18. Carlin123

    Listen to your Mother Jebby.

    April 25, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |

    Enough Bushes, Clintons, Kennedys–Need a candidate that knows right and wrong and will do everything for the people.

    April 25, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  20. Tom

    Jeb Bush is about as exciting as tepid dish water.

    April 25, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  21. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Actually it is Mammy Yokum that will be your next President ! You know her as Sarah Palin! VP will be Sargnet Snorkel. You heard it here first!

    April 25, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  22. St Xavier

    Here's my pick in the moment of time, I'm an independent voter I was a Democrat but never voted a streight party ticket. I do not believe in voting streight party because no party has all the right men for any job at the same time a voter must look beyond his party for a good man or woman. If Jeb Bush or Criste of New Jersey were to run for a Rap nonmination an if I was a Rap I'd vote for Christe we have had enough of the Bushes they never were any good at any thing but being rich an spoiled. If christe were to run againest Hillery for President that would be an interesting race. Christe is down to earth I truely believe he's time is not in 2016 BUT Hillery has all the marbiles for the game now an will be unbeatable. A vote for Hillery will get you TWO Presidents.

    April 25, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  23. PHinMiami

    So everyone agrees, "Jeb should NOT run".

    Though he seems like an 'easy pill to swallow', (compared to rest of GOP), we will see the actual failure he was in FL. Additionally, I don't think Jeb wants to hear about his son's arrest, daughter's arrest (with drug problems and 'special treatment'), or his wife's arrest for smuggling extravagant clothing into the US.

    April 25, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  24. Walter

    I love all these laughable libs saying "listen to your mother." As if these morons would ever vote for a Republican (even if their mother told them to).

    April 25, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  25. Jackie Treehorn

    The founding fathers should have put something in the constitution forbidding close relatives from running for the highest offices. We keep drifting closer and closer to hereditary aristocracy in this country and the last thing we need is a freaking family dynasty consolidating their power until we wind up like North Korea. No more Bushes OR Clintons.

    April 25, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
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