It's OK, Jeb. Mom says you can run for president.
Barbara Bush – wife and mother of two former presidents – once said about younger son Jeb Bush’s presidential aspirations that there’d been “enough Bushes” in the White House. She’s since changed her mind.
As is her style, the wife and mother of two former presidents was direct: "We've had enough Bushes."
The full quote on NBC’s “Today Show” was: “He’s by far the best-qualified man, but no. I really don’t. 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.”
There were other pungent remarks that day.
If he ever did run, Mrs. Bush said, “He’ll get all our enemies and half our friends.”
(In an earlier interview with Larry King, Mrs. Bush demonstrated her political wit, which can be biting. Commenting on another talked-about presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, she said: “I sat next to her once. Thought she was beautiful. She’s very happy in Alaska, and I hope she’ll stay there.”)
But back to Jeb Bush.
Like all of us, especially politicians, Mrs. Bush reserves the right to “revise and extend her remarks,” and she now has done so with regard to his running in 2016.
Weighing in via Skype to a dinner for hundreds of her younger son’s supporters in Florida Friday night she recanted her earlier comment about Jeb’s running. When her son recalled her earlier admonition about his running, she interrupted, according to a Washington Post report.
"Jeb, it’s Mom. Listen, what do you mean, ‘too many Bushes’?... I changed my mind!”she said, appearing (one imagines) like the Wizard of Oz on giant screens.
“Hey mom, can I get that in writing?” said the former governor of Florida, who was standing on stage at the event.
At the moment, Bush is leading all other likely GOP presidential candidates in the major polls. He’s ahead by a 7-point margin in the Real Clear Politics poll average – although in a pretend match-up against Hillary Rodham Clinton (speaking of political dynasties), he trails 9 percentage points.
Being part of a political dynasty has its minuses as well as plusses.
"I won't talk about the past," Bush replied. "I'll talk about the future. If I'm in the process of considering the possibility of running, it's not about re-litigating anything in the past. It's about trying to create a set of ideas and principles that will help us move forward."
It’s unclear whether such an answer will stand as Jeb Bush competes for the Republican presidential nomination. Plus, there are likely to be stumbles that have nothing to do with his last name.
As the Monitor’s Peter Grier reported the other day, in the rush to publish eight years of e-mails from his tenure as Florida governor “in the spirit of transparency,” Bush’s staff unwittingly also released the names, addresses, e-mail addresses, and even Social Security numbers for thousands of Floridians.