Jeb Bush hints at 2016 presidential bid
(CNN) — In what appears to be his most in depth public comments regarding 2016, Jeb Bush says he’s not ruling out a run for president.
The comments come as the former two-term Florida governor releases a new book on the issue of illegal immigration. He heads to two events over the next two weeks considered early cattle calls for Republican White House hopefuls.
Asked Monday morning on NBC’s “The Today Show” if he was going to run in 2016, Bush said “that’s way off in the future. I have a voice. I want to share my beliefs about how the conservative moment and the Republican Party can regain its footing, because we’ve lost our way.”
Pressed by host Matt Lauer on whether he would not rule out a run for president in 2016, Bush answered “I won’t. But I won’t declare it today either.”
Bush is doing television interviews this week to promote his new book “Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution.” At the end of this week Bush heads to Coral Gables, Florida, to meet with GOP officials and top donors at the Republican National Committee’s quarterly finance meetings. Bush will join other possible 2016 GOP contenders such as Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Next week Bush speaks at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference, a popular cattle call for Republicans considering bids for the White House. CPAC, which turns 40 this year, is the largest annual gathering of conservative leaders and activists, and it’s boosted the presidential campaigns, or ambitions, of many Republican candidates. The annual CPAC GOP presidential nomination straw poll is considered a key gauge of conservative sentiment, and garners much media attention.
While most other Republicans considering 2016 runs are speaking at the conference, Christie was not invited. But Bush said it wasn’t a big deal and said he’s a big fan of the tough talking GOP governor of New Jersey.
“I love Christie. I think Gov. Christie is a part of the future of the Republican Party for sure, and whether he’s going to CPAC or not is not really changing that.”
Tuesday Bush speaks with CNN’s Jake Tapper. That interview will run on CNN, including on “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”
Bush, the younger brother of former President George W. Bush and son of former President George H.W. Bush, served two terms as governor of Florida, winning election in 1998 and re-election in 2002. He ruled out a run for the White House in 2012.