April 25th, 2013
09:33 AM ET
12 months 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. Malory Archer

    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...

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    More like what he did TO Florida: Lowest wages in the U.S., failing schools, giveaways to his wealthy friends/famiy (FCAT anyone?). Not to mentionthe fact the 911 terrorists learned to fly planes at a wealthy benefactor's little airport. It's a disaster here, perpetuated on his watch and it's only gotten worse as his successors just picked up his mantle and continued the unfettered selling out to their cronies.

    April 25, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  2. Born in the USA served the USA Thank God I live in Canada

    Ken thats funny seeing it was your beloved 40th POTUS that started us down this path of self destruction trickle down down down

    April 25, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  3. yem

    What a great lady is B Bush. She hit the nail on the head. Jeb Bush may be as good or as bad as any American. But let him leave the stage for others. The memory of his brother and the Iraq war is still fresh. Let him help his party from outside the fence.Thank you Mrs Bush for your wisdom.

    April 25, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  4. Peace

    I take her words with a pinch of salt. I do think all these was planned. Her son will come later and say, forget what my mum said. Their time came and went. Now it is our time regardless of the name or clan, to do something different and beneficial to the nation, quite different from what they did during their time!

    April 25, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  5. Woody's Hay

    W running was probably a nod to the Religious Right, regarding "birthright" of the firstborn son. Might Jeb have been better? Maybe, but I doubt it. He's just going to have to live in the shadow of his older brother's ... tainting ... of the family legacy.

    And Hillary? Well, let's put it this way. One reason why the (allegedly) "liberally-biased media" loves her being in the race is because they don't have to come up with any new attacks or ideas. They just have to repeat everything the RW nutjobs said since 1990 ... remember, they were saying that she was the one really running in 1991-1992, re-electing 1996, gonna run 2000, 2004. Finally got the RW meme right in 2008, that she was running for President.

    April 25, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Lynda/Minnesota

    Well. Well. Well.
    Jeb Bush can't even get an endorsement from his own mother.
    What a conundrum ... yes, GOPers?
    -------------------------------------------------
    Oh snap! You're right Lynda!
    Mother knows best.

    April 25, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  7. Jan

    Cheers to straight-talking mothers!

    April 25, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  8. Jeff O'Dette

    ANOTHER BUSH?!?! I'd vote for my cat. A tree. A cheese burger..............................

    April 25, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  9. Barbie53

    Barbara Bush is very cool! A woman who knows and speaks the truth! The Republican Party is lucky to have her.

    Jeb nearly destroyed Florida with his policies which decimated public education and has helped further the careers of equally unsuitable people like Marco Rubio.

    April 25, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Barbara looks good in this photo. Tanned and healthy.
    She misspoke during that whole Katrina relocation fiasco but I liked her and felt that she just didn't know better and meant no harm.

    April 25, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  11. Lynda/Minnesota

    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).
    ----------

    The thing is, Walter, your party needs to understand that it is in the best interest of the GOP and America to run candidates that could be considered even remotely electable. So far, you folks have been striking out. Big Time.

    April 25, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  12. Deb in MT

    And a hearty "Hell, yeah!!" from my keyboard to Bar's ears! Never thought I'd agree with her, but she's got it right!

    (In fact, we've already had one Bush too many in the WH!)

    April 25, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  13. GRS62

    Barbara is undoubtedly the smartest member of the Bush family.

    April 25, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Mallory Archer:
    . It's a disaster here, perpetuated on his watch and it's only gotten worse as his successors just picked up his mantle and continued the unfettered selling out to their cronies.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Yes but the weather is sooo nice....(wink!)
    LOL!

    April 25, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  15. Larry in Houston

    WoW !! I guess it takes a Woman to have the guts to say what this Woman has just said. And, you know what they say about Women. Behind every good or decent man, there is a Woman !!

    Her Quote : ""“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 ""

    This shows you she's got more brains that a lot of people that was in her position has.

    Madam, I whole heartedly Respect your Opinion !!

    April 25, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  16. LeeCMH

    Please no more Bushes!

    Remember Jeb and the Shaivo case?

    We don't want Jeb and the hateful Christian Cavalcade.

    April 25, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  17. Jack Be Humble

    The only Republican candidate I would consider voting for is Christie. I do not like Biden at all, but I can hold my nose.

    I have deep respect for Barbara Bush; I think both the Matriarch and the Patriarch of the Bush family are great assets to this country.

    April 25, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  18. us_1776

    Jeb has zero chance of winning any kind of national election.

    .

    April 25, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  19. lottie

    babs is the best bush of all. she was a great first lady.

    April 25, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  20. Harley

    I woundn't let Jeb run a popsicle stand. The previous Bush disgraced this great nation with his poor Stewardship. Time to move forward.

    April 25, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  21. KATHLEEN BURGESS

    I have always admired both Barbara and Laura Bush. I think both of their husbands had excellent judgment when it came to who they both married. As for Jeb becoming President-I think that would have to be a no. I think Al Gore was the winner of FL and Jeb had something to do with it. As for Hillary Clinton-she has VERY impaired judgment to keep putting up with Bill Clintons affairs/sex addiction. I would NEVER vote for her now.

    April 25, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  22. Tracy

    Bush – best ever!

    April 25, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  23. ellid

    For once I have to agree with a Bush: Jeb should not run. We had one mediocre President from the dynasty, and one who has to rank as the worst two-term President since Grant. Enough.

    April 25, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  24. gypsytoo

    We've had enough Bushes – sums it up perfectly!

    April 25, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  25. Rick McDaniel

    I think Barbara is objective enough to know the Bush name will not be well received in 2016, after all the trashing Obama has done, of the Bush name for the past 6 yrs.

    April 25, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
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