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. Matthew

    It depends if Rubio might be next president, Bush would be my 2nd.

    April 25, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  2. ShaveyurBush

    No more Bush! Deport Rubio! Biden '16.

    April 25, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  3. GregC

    Please listen to your mother! She is smart. We don't want another BUSH in the White House!

    April 25, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  4. joel hudlow

    Hillary wont run.I think dems would be surprised by bush .He actually worked with both parties in fla and went with the best idea regardless of which party came up with it. He probably would get something done on immigration.Obama proved his only idea is tax and tax again.The democrats are not held accountable for throwing money away.3 more years of tax and spend and this country will vote republican and be happy to have jeb

    April 25, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  5. Hogan's Goat

    Make him ambassador to Libya, just to see if he's up for the job.

    April 25, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  6. rickp530

    The United States cannot afford another Bush as president. When Bush senior was in, the country went into a recession. Housing and banking crashed right after Bush Junior left the White House and we were at a surplus with our deficit when he first took office. Now look how far in debt we are. I know some of you are going to say it's all President Obama's fault. You have to spend money to make money and that is exactly what President Obama did.

    April 25, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Please...haven't the Bushes done enough damage? How ironic that W has a library named after him.

    April 25, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  8. Tina

    Please Jeb, listen to your mother!

    April 25, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  9. Hulot

    Yeah Jeb, don’t run. We’ve had more than enough Bush’s in the White House

    April 25, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  10. Tina

    @joel Hudlow, Sorry I live here in Florida, and yes he was a lot better than the current idiot that we have now, but I would never vote for bush regardless.

    April 25, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  11. Hogan's Goat

    The GOP is running scared. Neither the Tea Party or the rapidly-shrinking GOP can elect a president alone, and the TP is rolling on down to found their own party with some old ex-GOP politician as leader. This will give the Democratic Party a lock on the White House for about twenty years, and maybe there will be an actual conservative party to oppose them by then. There certainly isn't a conservative party now; these radicals don't want to conserve a thing and are actually against voting now since Obama won.

    April 25, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  12. Hogan's Goat

    I've got a pet goat he can borrow.

    April 25, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  13. Loggan44

    Please, no more Bush!!!!!

    April 25, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  14. cosmok

    Joe Biden would be great for comic relief, but he would be a horrible President.

    April 25, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  15. hubert39

    Smart lady. It will take the USA along time to recover from all the Bush diasters. The troops killed in their fake wars will never recover. SAD!

    April 25, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  16. Dave

    @joel hudlow – I think you may be right. However, I think that Jeb won't end up running either.

    April 25, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  17. Saboth

    Matthew says: "It depends if Rubio might be next president, Bush would be my 2nd." Yeah, well, either one might run, but neither one has a chance to win.

    April 25, 2013 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  18. roy

    The last Bush in the White House was a nightmare America please for humanity sake don't attempt to elect another for president.

    April 25, 2013 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  19. JayHobeSound

    The Bush family thirst for spilling blood is insatiable. The USA does not deserve another Bush as president.

    The Geo W. Bush-launched War *of* Terror is still being waged in Afghanistan, blood is still being spilled as a result. Entire region destabilized, may take three generations estimated for the region to recover.

    Geo H.W. Bush-approved US-funded/trained/supplied 'death squads' throughout Latin America for decades, many thousands of people killed/tortured/disappeared; cocaine/marijuana smuggling.

    The players change, but the BUSH game remains the same: accrue wealth by spilling the blood of others.

    April 25, 2013 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  20. bohica

    Biden 16??? If there is one person who definitely doesn't need to be there, it's him. He's not qualified to run a neighborhood HOA. Even Obama cringes when he opens his mouth. He's the political version of Frank Barone (dad from Everyone Loves Raymond). If you really believe being ambassador to a place like Libya would show if Jeb is up for the job, I'm guessing you no longer consider Hillary qualified since she admitted failure and stepped down as SOS.

    April 25, 2013 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  21. cosmok

    I wasn't a big fan of George W. Bush, but Obama is in his second term. When is he going to quit blaming Bush for everything and man up and take responsibility for the still dismal state of the economy? I don't recall Ronald Reagan droning on and on about the mess Jimmy Carter left him.

    April 25, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  22. oakville1958

    Barbara Bush is right no more Bushes please! This country and this world would have been a much better place, if she had said that before the second Bush considered running!

    April 25, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  23. Hogan's Goat

    "Joe Biden would be great for comic relief, but he would be a horrible President." He would be an unspectacular president, and that's not going to satisfy the masses. They want entertainment, and they want a show-biz president. If Obama shot more hoops with NBA stars, they'd like him better. They want an actor to play the president more than they want a man to actually do the day-to-day job. Five bucks says the GOP runs a movie star, and five more says it's Clint Eastwood.

    April 25, 2013 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  24. Hogan's Goat

    " I don't recall Ronald Reagan droning on and on about the mess Jimmy Carter left him." Gee, I don't even remember Carter cutting off the government's revenue and ordering a full invasion of Iran at the same time. Maybe that's why Reagan didn't have to blame him. News flash, Carter was merely an ok president, not a bad one. Bush was a bad one, who didn't really care. Carter barely slept and worried all the time, and still wasn't able to get things right. Reagan just hired managers and slept until 10am, assuming Ollie North had his back.

    April 25, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  25. nunya

    NO MORE BUSH!! No Rubio.. Lets Seee Hillary Clinton vp: John Favaro!

    April 25, 2013 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
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