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. Dapple

    Everyone should let the green party have a go at it in 2016 lol.

    April 25, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  2. Buba

    If the GOP wants to hand the Dems the white house in 2016 on a silver platter, Jeb should absolutely run.

    April 25, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  3. Romney is Still NOT My Hero

    Hell just froze over because I agree with her. Poor lady married into a lunatic family. I knew she had some brains. Hopefully Jeb-ya will listen to her.

    April 25, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  4. Peace

    Politics and other preferences aside, it takes lot of common sense and knowledge to say what she said. In the world that has always been driven by people evaluating a person by his success in his/her profession , I applaud this mother who stood up and said this..I have least any of the politicians but this is "priceless" comment.

    April 25, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  5. Joe P

    Thanks, Babs....you are quite right; we've had enough of the Bushes and are still trying to dig out from W's wrath.

    April 25, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  6. k

    We can't have a president named Jeb..

    April 25, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  7. Josef Bleaux

    Oh please run. Please please please please. Whoever the Dems nominate will win by a landslide!

    April 25, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  8. Extremely Moderate

    Don't really like the idea of establishing presidential dynasties, but that is how it is shaping up. I'd like an actual choice in the next election. This last time, our choices were "self serving current incumbent" or "equally self serving candidate". Jeb bush has a good track record of well rounded middle of the road policy, but would probably never get in because of his last name. Dear god, if Hillary runs and the GOP or a third party doesn't provide a viable alternative, we are screwed. It doesn't matter if it is right wing or left wing, anyone that radical minded is a bad thing waiting to happen.

    April 25, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  9. Byron Ellis

    A wise Mom.

    April 25, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  10. ted

    If Jeb somehow got in, his first task would be to have his brother and Cheney report to The Hague to face war crimes trials. What a fantasy.

    Hillary in 2016

    April 25, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  11. DCBuck

    No more Bushes AND Clintons – PLEASE!!!

    April 25, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  12. Trish

    I`m getting sick just thinking about it.

    April 25, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  13. Extremely Moderate

    @Romney is Still NOT My Hero: I wouldn't knock the whole family. GB senior was not a bad president at all.

    April 25, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  14. Pandamonius

    Her statement about "Great Families" sums up their mentality nicely. That family thinks they stand above all others as feudal lords.

    April 25, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  15. Phaerisee

    I concur with Barb.

    April 25, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  16. PushingBack

    Barbara is the only Bush I have ever had any respect for. That continues today with this article!

    April 25, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  17. KC Yankee

    There is a curse on this country. We will never get away from these people. The fact that the revisionists are already making progress on the record of an imbecile war criminal is proof that we will have more Bushes in high office sooner than anyone thinks.

    April 25, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  18. Debbie

    I vote for Barb! She'd make a great president!

    April 25, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  19. FLgeeman

    We have had 2 epic fails named Bush. We don't need another.

    April 25, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  20. Name lynn

    Now george what, you kidding you saying your brother be a laughing bird. George you been talking the the devil because theres no way the people voting for your momma let known your brother jed is his name.

    April 25, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  21. iceload9

    Wouldn't take much to get the group together – Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld still somewhere et al.

    April 25, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Jeb listen to the old hag. The nation has barely survived with 2 bushes, you will be the one to take us out.

    April 25, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  23. Publius Novus

    "[W]e've had enough Bushes." Wow. Wonders will never cease. I agree with Barbara Bush! What will happen next?

    April 25, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  24. KrjMc

    Yes Jeb, listen to your mother she knows best – do not run regardless of what your father or brother say.
    Not sure this country could take another Bush

    April 25, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  25. No support

    I hope the republicans do push Jeb to run. They are proving that they haven't learned from past mistakes and will continue to make them until they are either ruined their party or the nation. For the nations sake, I hope it is that party that suffers.

    April 25, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
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