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. DumbasRocks [R]s

    She said: "we've had enough Bushes", relfecting the predominant feeling amongst most sentient Americans who are still reeling from the last Bush's FAILURES.

    April 25, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  2. Olaf Big

    Don't run Jeb! If one forgets your bro, you are probably one of the best-qualified republicans to run in 2016, but who is going to forget your bro? This is the curse of family stereotyping.

    April 25, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  3. norma jean

    Congratulations Mrs. Bush......At least there is ONE straight thinker in the Bush family.

    April 25, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  4. DumbasRocks [R]s

    Extremely Moderate thinks that Hilary is "radical minded". Wow.

    Its amazing what level of self-delusion you can inflict on yourself, once high on uncut street drugs.

    In someone's made-up language, apparently "moderate" really means "stupid".

    April 25, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  5. Jay

    Yep, we have had enough Bushes!!!

    April 25, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  6. notahistorianbut

    What I think is actual history is that there have been 2 Bush presidencies and some are pushing for a third – why do so many cast the Clinton's in the boat as though they're trying for number 3 themselves. Noone knows if Hillary will run (or even if she's seriously considering it); but besides Cristie who offended the base with praising Obama after superstorm sandy and actually put the welfare of his state/people before politics, don't the republicans have anyone better than what was rejected the last cycle without going to groundhog day with another Bush.

    April 25, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  7. Hogan's Goat

    Look, the plant nursery calls little short trees "shrubbery" now instead of Bushes. He was the worst. His name is a joke.

    April 25, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  8. JAB

    I have to agree about enough Bushes.

    April 25, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  9. RC

    I agree with her.

    ".... He'll get all our enemies, half of our friends.”

    April 25, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  10. spike

    I would add, enough Bushes, enough Clintons and enough Obamas.

    April 25, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Atul C

    GWB was the best president in last 30 years.
    So great, in fact (choke), that he went immediately underground as soon as he was loudly and extensively BOOED January 20th, 2009 on the steps of the Capitol on the National Mall.
    So great, in fact (choke), that he was the first President NOT asked to attend the Republican National Convention in 2012 to help catapult the Republican nominee into the White House.
    So great, in fact (choke) that he was CONSPICUOUSLY absent from the campaign trail in order to help the Republican nominee gain the White House by using his "greatness" "popularity" to help him win the national election.
    So great, in fact (choke), that his name was NEVER mentioned, nor his endorsement seeked in order to assist the GOP clown at the polls.
    Yeah. Really, really great but only in YOUR mind.

    April 25, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  12. Kevin

    Well, it is about time. No new wars have been started since dubya, and the ones he started are winding down, so perhaps we should have another bush in office. The US can't survive without being at war, and no one is better at starting wars than a bush

    April 25, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  13. MEG

    I personally think you should run Jeb! Your dad and brother were good presidents. This country hasn't done any better under other leadership....

    April 25, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  14. Kevin

    We've had one too many Bushes in the White House.

    April 25, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  15. YUCK

    His library is a waist of papers and trees

    April 25, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  16. John the Historian

    After the failed presidency of Bush II the puppet how could anyone want another Bush in office. Bush II was only puppet of Cheney and his Halliburton war profits. Laura was stuck in the 1950s and stood for the typical First Lady innocuous apple pie issues. Jeb was governor of Florida with one of the worst education systems. Sure hope Santorum/Michele Bachmann run or Sarah Palin/Newt Gingrich run. No to the trillion dollar debt we are paying off from Iraq II, no to chicken hawk presidents, and to Wall Street elite. Also still don't believe Bush II believes that Christian Right nonsense.

    April 25, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  17. Extremely Moderate

    Btw, serious question: I don't think Bush jr. was a good president , but whats wit the war criminal stuff? Is there something I don't know?

    April 25, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  18. Kellie

    I'm a democrat and no fan of the Bushes, but Jeb is his own man and I think he should be judged on his own ideas, not on the basis of his last name. I don't think if he runs it's just "another Bush term." 41 and 43 had vastly different views.

    April 25, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  19. Maeve

    Especially if Jeb runs, I have a suggestion for the staging of the republican debates during primary season next time. Take Jeb "I could been a contender!" Bush, Ted "McCarthy" Cruz (who has been checking out potential support for a run in 2016), the obligatory Paul (Rand this time), the wide-eyed and extremely fishy Paul Ryan, Newt "Pomposity" Gingrich, et al and, instead of standing them behind podiums, sit them in clown cars. Personally, I think they should also be forced to wear tiny cowboy hats...and shirts with sequins and their names embroidered on the front.

    April 25, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  20. Curious

    Why doesn't Marvin Bush run? Never hear much about him.

    April 25, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  21. Romney is Still NOT My Hero

    @Extremely Moderate

    You can tell a lot about the parents by looking at the children. Dubya Bushy Jr. got all that lunatic gene from Bush Sr. I know it wan't from Mama Bush by the wayshe speaks. Jeb-ya got some of her common sense, but the crazy dad gene isn't too far away.

    April 25, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  22. Rembrant

    Do us all a favor and listen to your mother Jeb.

    April 25, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  23. freya

    Yeah Jeb listen to your Mom DON'T RUN

    April 25, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  24. W8a2nd

    She could have saved the nation from her other moronic son if she only would have told her husband.

    April 25, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  25. Name Rod

    What I really like about George JR is that he has stayed out of the spotlite and let Pres Obama have the stage. I really respect that.

    April 25, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
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