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. Bob

    George W Bush RUINED this Country!!! As pea brained as he was, his brother will have the same DNA. We are just starting to regain some of our footing. I would hate to start back pedaling again.

    April 25, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  2. ST

    Come on folks, don't be carried away with her words. Don't they have family communications on the issue? How come "W" says his young brother will make a good President, their father said it long time ago he wants his son to run. Now the mother is saying a different language????? She is trying to cool down the attacks on her son, which could be prepared in advance. I can bet Jeb Bush is going to run.

    April 25, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  3. Larry

    Jeb, listen to your mother. We cannot bear another Bush in the White House.

    April 25, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  4. humtake

    This country will never have another great leader until the citizens stop being as short-sighted as they are. W was a great President, but everyone looks at today instead of what led up to a problem and what he did to fight it but was turned down at every angle and look past the fact the guy can't speak well in public. Obama hasn't done bad at all, either, if the people against him didn't think everything he does is going to destroy our entire country just because he signs a piece of paper.

    As long as half of the country is determined to see the other half fail, neither party will every have room for a great President. Any good deed done by one person can be easily summarized into a mistake by another person. That's all this country is about.

    April 25, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  5. Bev

    enough of the bushs & clintons

    April 25, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. George in PA

    Would this be his reward for stealing the 2000 election from Al Gore for his brother? Please don't let 2016 be Bush vs. Clinton. We need new blood, and new solutions.

    April 25, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  7. TomGI

    Listen to your mom Jeb. The Bush legacy isn't good. #43 was a dud and #41 was barely acceptable.

    April 25, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  8. Robert Guyer

    Jeb Bush was a great governor and a real policy wonk. He is the only elected politician I've know who actually read the legislation before he acted upon it.

    April 25, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  9. Lisa

    @humtake.... you lost me after you said "W was a great president".... wrong. 100% wrong. Obama is unfortunately (despite hoping for that change!) continuing a lot of those horrible policies. Spying on Americans, Guantanamo, drones, the war in Afghanistan, "Patriot" Act. He's just as bad.

    April 25, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  10. maximusvad

    Mom knows best.

    April 25, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  11. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Update! Mammy Yokum will be your next President! You know her as Sarah Palin. Sargent Snorkel will be your Vice President. You know him as Chris Christi of New Jersey !! Get ready to go back to the Salt Mines !!

    April 25, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  12. Malory Archer


    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.


    Unlike the rethugs who start bashing private citizens they fear MAY run for office someday.

    April 25, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  13. LDB

    The sad thing is, out of George H.W., George W., and Jeb, Jeb would probably make the best president. Too bad it wasn't Jeb running back in 2000/2004...we'd be in much better shape as a country now. Also interesting: If Jeb and Hillary run, it's stacking up as a Clinton/Bush rematch. Maybe Ron Paul will come in and play the role of Ross Perot?

    April 25, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  14. sparky

    I never thought I would agree with Barbara Bush, but she's right. Enough with the dynastic politics. No more Bushes, no more Obamas.

    I'd even say no more Clintons, although I think Hillary's done enough on her own to earn the right to throw her hat into the ring.

    April 25, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  15. rockot

    I completely agree that we don't need to select presidents from families. 3 bushes this close in a row is not right.
    Also husband and wife teams are not particularly desirable.

    We should be able to scan out over a country this large and find other people qualified, instead of having these legacies.

    April 25, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  16. Greenspam

    I was in Florida when Jeb Bush was the Governor and I can tell you he was NOT a good governor.

    April 25, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Interesting to note how CNN has left the comments open for this non-story and yet they were quick to shut the thread down on the other two George W. Bush stories.
    It was getting kinda hot after only 8-10 comments huh CNN?
    As good as you are at reconstructing and spinning, having folks believe that Dubya was a good President and is missed is beyond even your capabilities.

    April 25, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  18. Grumpster

    I never thought I would say I would agree with any Bush....but finally one comes out with something sensible.

    April 25, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  19. Hogan's Goat

    "after all the trashing Obama has done, of the Bush name" You think Obama had anything to do with it? Half the GOP voted for Obama to keep McCain from being Cheney's next dimwitted dupe. Bush's name is Mud these days. He was the Worst President Ever.

    April 25, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  20. abbydelabbey

    I agree with Barbara on this - America has definitely had enough of the Bushes ... But, this family sees itself as having a hereditary right to political office ... There is a Bush running for office in Texas ... Can't seem to shake ourselves from these power-hungry folks....

    April 25, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  21. Rogue351

    For once I agree with a Bush, don’t run Jeb. It is a waste of money and time. And yes, we have had enough of the Bush family in office. Especially after the second one. No more please ! The bush family has done enough to America.

    April 25, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  22. Raghav Gopal

    She says there are other 'great' families..is she including hers knowing what her son did to this country by starting a war that was never needed?

    April 25, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  23. Kevin Jablonski

    Jeb would be a fantastic POTUS. I hope he runs, and kicks the crap out of Hillary.

    April 25, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  24. Atul C

    GWB was the best president in last 30 years. He put his neck on the line to protect our country and he did keep us for 8 years since 9/11. Just because media and liberals went after GWB, some gullible people have changed their opinion because many of those believe everything they see on TV (cnn/nbc/abc). People have already realizing that how great he was. We had prosperity till democrats took control of the house in 2006. They blocked every constructive move and media covered their negative work pretty good. Now public is realizing and that's why GWB's rating is going up every day.

    April 25, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  25. JASON

    Finally a sane Bush, barbara knows that the country will not survive another Bush

    April 25, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
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