George Bush to Jeb: Run for president

Posted: April 26, 2013

George W. Bush, president turned artist, wants his younger brother, Jeb, to run for the Oval Office.

Their mother, Barbara, though, doesn't like the idea.

"He doesn't need my counsel because he knows what it is, which is: "Run!" the ex-president told ABC's Diane Sawyer on the eve of the opening of his presidential library in Texas.

"He would be great," said Bush, sitting next to wife Laura. "He would be a marvelous candidate."

Bush told CNN's John King the same thing, adding, "I don't know what he's going to do."

This morning on the Today show, however, Barbara Bush told cohost Matt Lauer: "We've had enough Bushes."

Since serving as governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007, Jeb Bush has declined chances to run for U.S. Senate seats and the presidency.

He's been noncommittal about a 2016 run for the White House, telling MSNBC last month, for example, " I'm not saying yes. I'm just not saying no."

In December Bush became chairman of the National Constitution Center, and the publication last month of his new book, Immigration Wars, was seen by the New York Times as marking "a return to the national conversation" about potential candidates.

Jeb Bush spoke Wednesday about the economy and immigration to the World Affairs Council, but again declined to tip his hand about any possible run.

On a possible Hillary Clinton-Jeb Bush matchup, George Bush told Sawyer: "It would be a fantastic photo."

He also said of the Republican Party, "You will exist in the future," and predicted that "the field won't become clear until after the mid-terms," the 2014 Congressional elections.

As for the "artist" reference, Sawyer asked Bush about his taking up art as a hobby, showing a picture of a painting of the ex-president's toes sticking out of the water in bathtub.

"It may reflect my precocious nature, my painting myself in a bathtub or in a shower," Bush said. "I love to paint. Painting has changed my life in an unbelievably positive way."

Not that he was bragging.

"Look, the signature is more valuable than the painting," he said.

"You can keep learning in life," he said. Despite advice that he should simply rest, he said, "I don't want to rest. I want follow the example of President 41 and sprint into the grave."

He was referring to this father, George. H.W. Bush, who'll turn 89 in June.

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or

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