The next presidential election is more than three years away, but Jeb Bush seems to be inching toward a run. He would have to defend--or distance himself from--his brother's deficits, in all senses of the word.
Jeb Bush is everywhere.
Sure, the former Florida governor is touring the media to publicize his new book Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution. But he’s also singing the tune of someone who might run for president in 2016.
If he does decide to run, he’s up for a tight race–especially if former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton throws her hat into the ring. According to a recent survey from Public Policy Polling, Clinton would carry Florida against Bush 49% to 44%. It’s even closer if popular Sunshine State Sen. Marco Rubio runs. In a hypothetical matchup, 50% of Florida voters would vote for Clinton, versus 46% for Rubio.
Of course, the election is more than three years away. Anything could happen. But here are five recent signs indicating the younger brother of former President George W. Bush is inching toward a run.
1.He’s not ruling it out
The Republican appeared on MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown on Tuesday and when asked about 2016 said: “I’m not saying yes. I’m not saying no.” Bush continued, “I’ve accomplished some things in my life that allow me now to, to have that kind of discretion, to be able to think about it.”
2.He’s changing his tune on immigration
In January, Bush co-authored an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal which seemed to be in favor of a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants in America. He ripped fellow GOPers who believe “illegal immigrants should return to their native countries and wait in line like everyone else.” But on NBC’s Today on Monday, Bush said he backs legal residency and not necessarily citizenship. It seemed to be an attempt to cozy up to GOP primary voters (and put him to the right of Rubio). “If we want to create an immigration policy that’s going to work, we can’t continue to make illegal immigration an easier path than legal immigration,” he said.
But then on Tuesday’s Bush said that he would support a path to citizenship “if it didn’t create an incentive for people to come illegally at the expense of coming legally.”
3. He’s going to CPAC
For the first time Bush will speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Next month’s event—an annual gathering of conservatives—is seen as a stepping stone for GOPers considering running for president.
4.He’s distancing himself from Mitt Romney
Bush, who endorsed failed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, is now ripping the former Massachusetts governor. In his book, Bush argues Romney’s campaign was “a tragic lost opportunity made more so because it was largely self-inflicted.” He also declared Romney’s move to the right on immigration “proved all but impossible for him to appeal to Hispanic voters.”
5.He’s declaring his party is in need of leadership
Bush says there’s a leadership vacuum within the GOP today. “I have a voice, I want to share my beliefs about how the conservative movement and the Republican Party can regain its footing, because we lost our way” he told Today. Funny, Bush didn’t name any names that could fill that void….
For more on Jeb Bush and his potential bid, watch the Hardball video above. MSNBC political analysts Michael Steele, former RNC chair, and Ron Reagan, radio talk show host, weighed in.