Big CPAC surprise: Jeb Bush not on ballot
March 14th, 2013
11:54 AM ET
10 years ago

Big CPAC surprise: Jeb Bush not on ballot

(CNN) – There are 23 names on the Conservative Political Action Conference's much watched 2016 GOP presidential nomination straw poll.

And there's one glaring omission: Jeb Bush.

[twitter-follow screen_name='politicalticker']

It appears the former two-term Florida governor is the reason his name isn't on the ballot.

"He requested not to be put on the poll this year," an official with the American Conservative Union, the group that puts on CPAC, told CNN. The official asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely.

And that was quickly confirmed by a spokesman for Bush.

"It was our request to Mr. Cardenas when he extended the invite for Gov. Bush to speak. We asked not to be included, as Gov. Bush has said repeatedly, it is too early to think about 2016," Bush spokesperson Jaryn Emhof told CNN Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper, anchor of the upcoming CNN program "The Lead."

Bush will speak at the conference Friday.

Bush lately has been doing something he's never really done before: talk publicly about possibly running for president. Earlier this month as Bush did the television interview circuit, including two interviews on CNN, around the release of his new book, "Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution," the son and brother of former presidents openly discussed his thinking on a run for the White House in 2016.

But in those interviews Bush, who passed on running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 and 2012, said he won't be making a decision on the next race for the White House any time soon and chided the media for obsessing on 2016.

"I suspect Jeb didn't want to be on straw poll list. He has consistently said it's too early for 2016 talk and doesn't do anything to fan the flames," said Ana Navarro, a GOP strategist, CNN contributor and friend of Bush.

And a source very close to Bush told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley, anchor of CNN's "State of the Union," that the straw poll "would start a conversation he doesn't want and doesn't even think should happen at this time."

Hanging over Bush is what can be described as Bush fatigue - the idea that a Jeb Bush bid for the White House would carry his family's political baggage.

His father, George H.W. Bush, served one term before losing his 1992 re-election campaign against then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton. The elder Bush angered many conservatives by breaking his "no new taxes" pledge.

His brother George W. Bush served two terms but left office in January 2009 as a very unpopular president, even among Republicans, who were angered by his support of federal spending increases and his 2008 bailout of Wall Street during the financial crisis.

A few high-profile conservatives and potential White House hopefuls who weren't invited to speak at the CPAC nevertheless made it onto the ballot.

While New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell were not invited to speak, both appear on the 23-name ballot obtained by CNN for the next GOP presidential nomination. (McDonnell will still appear at CPAC on a panel but will not be a featured speaker.)

The straw poll is often considered a way to gauge where the conservative base stands on potential Republican nominees. Last year, when the conference took place in February, then-candidate Mitt Romney won the poll at a crucial point in the Republican primary. The former governor of Massachusetts took 38% of the vote, while former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum received 31%, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was at 15% and then-Texas Rep. Ron Paul stood at 12%.

In previous years, however, Paul was the winner of the poll. The libertarian-learning Republican came out on top in 2011 and 2010.

In 2009, months after the 2008 election, Romney took first place, with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal coming in second and Paul tying for third place with Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee.

Other non-CPAC speakers on this year's ballot include New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez; South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley; former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who now heads Purdue University; Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, a top surrogate for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign last year; Ohio Gov. John Kasich; and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

Also of note, freshman Sen. Ted Cruz, who rose to fame for his grassroots support in a heated Texas primary and run-off last year, made the list. Given that he was born in Canada with an American citizen mother and a Cuban father, his eligibility for president has been subject to debate.

Neurosurgeon Ben Carson interestingly appears on the poll–the only one on the list who's never been elected to public office. He generated buzz among conservative circles after he advocated conservative policies on taxes and health care right in front of President Obama while keynoting the national prayer breakfast last month.

Check out the rest of the list below:

1. NH Senator Kelly Ayotte
2. AZ Governor Jan Brewer
3. KS Governor Sam Brownback
4. Neurosurgeon Ben Carson
5. NJ Governor Chris Christie
6. TX Senator Ted Cruz
7. Former IN Governor Mitch Daniels
8. SC Governor Nikki Haley
9. LA Governor Bobby Jindal
10. OH Governor John Kasich
11. NM Governor Susana Martinez
12. VA Governor Bob McDonnell
13. Former AK Governor Sarah Palin
14. KY Senator Rand Paul
15. IN Governor Mike Pence
16. TX Governor Rick Perry
17. OH Senator Rob Portman
18. FL Senator Marco Rubio
19. WI Congressman Paul Ryan
20. Former PA Senator Rick Santorum
21. SC Senator Tim Scott
22. SD Senator John Thune
23. WI Governor Scott Walker
24. Other _______________________
25. Undecided

- CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2016 • CPAC • Jeb Bush
soundoff (111 Responses)
  1. The Real Tom Paine

    -just askin

    Rudy NYC
    Obama has tried to sweep the "war crimes" allegations against the Bush administration under the rug, and he has more or less succeeded at it
    war crimes? you mean like obama targeting people for drone killings, even americans, without due process? then killing innocent bystanders in the process? do you mean those obama war crimes?
    Does the Right seriously care about Americans who have turned on their own country? If they had been killed by drones during the Bush years, no one on the Right would have raised an eyebrow. If the Right had been so concerned about the rule of law, the Patriot Act would never have been passed with such enthusiasum. What hypocrisy, but hey, at least it enabled W to spend almost 18 months of his presidency "resting" on his ranch instead of doing his job. Wouldn't want to over tax that underutilised mind and conscience of his.

    March 14, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  2. JCQueipo

    Why is this Bush family so important for the wellbeing of our country, or should I say for the wellbeing of the rich families that control the GOP and want to control the whole country !!!

    March 14, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    yolanda wrote:

    I see "war criminal" used a number of times to describe Bush.....maybe so, but water boarding is not the same as assassination of U.S. citizens.
    No one complained when the "Obama administration" shot and killed that "US citizen" who kidnapped that little boy, and then hid out inside of an undergournd bunker. Why not then? So why complain about US citizens who have declared war against the United States?

    March 14, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  4. honggildong

    You guys grossly underestimate the smarts of the RNC and CPAC. Don't you see, they are conspiring to advance Christiie to the front by deliberately and openly snubbing him, knowing full well that this would make him Christie seen as a desirable middle roader to the public. Now they are up to something very outlandishly smart.

    March 14, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  5. Larry L


    I see "war criminal" used a number of times to describe Bush.....maybe so, but water boarding is not the same as assassination of U.S. citizens.
    He was a war criminal for purposefully using false intelligence data to start the Iraq War. The entire process of decption is clear to anybody who even slightly understands the process of assembling and processing intelligence. His efforts to "punish Valerie Plame's husband for "outing them" proved their guilt. Over 4,500 Service-Members died, 0ver 70,000 were wounded, and hundreds of thousands of civilians perished in the war. Bush and Cheney were protecting the interest's of oil companies. That's a war crime.

    March 14, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  6. Steve

    JB – a 'Porker' Heart Attack waiting to happen, LOL

    March 14, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |

    It doesn't matter. Wingnuts love Snooki Palin and Donald Trump. That's all one needs to know about this ball of knuckle draggers

    March 14, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  8. John

    Oh please, enough of the Bush family already. There are more intelligent GOP contenders without having to back-track.

    March 14, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  9. Wake up People!


    Actually I think you are giving them too much credit. They're really not that smart. They are snubbing him because they blame him for Mitts loss, however considering their clown car of candidates is headed for one heck of a crash, they are going to have to turn to Christy in the end. Some dems and plenty of Ind's will vote for him. I won't be one of them though.

    March 14, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  10. Dave

    CPAC- irrelevant mob of hypocrites and morons. I'm surprised they left Jeb out. He fits right in.

    March 14, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  11. northerstar

    Killing US Citizens who have taken up arms against the US is not a crime, nor is it new. During WW II many American-born "Germans" returned to Germany to fight in the German army & were killed in combat against the US. The war on terror is the "new" war just as terrorism is the new threat. Becoming is active terrorist again the US is the new form of combat. You can't take of arms against the US in a foreign country and then claim to be a citizen with all its protection when it suits.

    March 14, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  12. Cted

    Palin at 13... Buwahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
    How can you take this list seriously with Palin even on it. Though I guess if she gets no votes it's ok but still.

    March 14, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  13. yolanda

    @Larry L.... thank you for the balanced response. I am not defending Bush, but I don't think that Obama walks on water, either. Unfortunately, every time anyone has the temerity to question this administration's actions, the immediate (and predictable) response is to criticize Bush One could say that Kennedy and Johnson misrepresented the situation in Viet Nam to benefit the chemical companies (58,000 US dead) and should therefore be considered war criminals. The fact is , BOTH parties are guilty of BS'ing the American public. And if you believe everything Joseph Wilson offers up, I've got some really sweet property to sell you in the Everglades......

    March 14, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  14. just sayin

    bill clinton's intelligence at the time said iraq had wmd. i guess bill clinton, and all the other country's who had similar intelligence, lied to the world. liberals are such lunatics.

    March 14, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  15. The Real Tom Paine

    -just sayin

    bill clinton's intelligence at the time said iraq had wmd. i guess bill clinton, and all the other country's who had similar intelligence, lied to the world. liberals are such lunatics.
    If they had proof, Clinton would have taken them out. I seem to remember when he enforced the No-Fly Zone over IRaq the Right had kittens. What fantasies the Righties make up to justify their lies!

    March 14, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  16. lance

    Pretty depressing list. Really? This is the cream of the crop in GOP-Land?

    March 14, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  17. MTthinker

    Good luck with that list.

    March 14, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  18. SafeJourney

    It almost makes you feel sorry for the GOP. I said almost.

    March 14, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  19. John

    Just when you think the party of no is as stupid as they can be, they seriously talk about Bush. PLEASE run him and put Glenn Beck for VP! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE !

    March 14, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  20. thomas

    loser, loser, loser all

    March 14, 2013 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  21. tedz

    i see only 3 that have potential to win. christie, rubio and tedz cruz.

    March 14, 2013 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  22. BocaChita

    @just sayin....They may have had intelligence to that effect, but THEY had the intelligence not to jump up and down, scream and shout, and run in circles. They did not start dropping bombs, killing women and children, torturing people, and then sending their own young men and women to die in a needless war. Get real. W embodies the term lunatic.

    March 14, 2013 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  23. Marty

    It is disturbing that in our free society, we seem to be unable to carry on a civil discourse without resorting to name calling. How about speaking to the issues instead of devolving into silly games of who can be the most repugnant? Civil discourse, people, civil discourse. Why don't we show the world we can disagree without being disagreeable?

    March 14, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  24. Gurgyl

    Loser list–America knows now. Hillary16. First female president after black president. Nation is changing to right direction. True.

    March 14, 2013 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  25. Voiceinthewind

    The Shrub family has probably done more to damage America and its citizens than any other enemy in its history. they have led America and its people down a evil path that has led to the end of the American way that America was once proud of. Thier Greed and Evil ways has totally destroyed America and its people and its economy. Starting with the grand father and his trade in Arms to the Russians and recieving payments from the Germans to the fixing of oil prices with the Sauds to the murder and torture of so many innocent people. This is a very Evil and Greedy clan who all belong in prison for a wide range of crimes from murder to theft and all crimes inbetween.

    March 14, 2013 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
1 2 3 4 5