Speaking at an event that closed to the press, but moderated by a Fox News anchor, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said that he would consider running for president in 2016 if he can run on a “hopeful, optimistic message” and not become mired down in the mudslinging that mars most modern campaigns.
The Washington Post reports that Bush made his comments at an event held at at the library and museum that bears the his father, former President George H.W. Bush’s, name.
Bush explained that his decision would be based on whether a candidate can “run with a hopeful, optimistic message, hopefully with enough detail to give people a sense that it’s not just idle words and not get back into the vortex of the mud fight.”
“In my case, that means can one do it joyfully without being tied to all the convention of the here and now?” he added.
Bush said that he would make his decision by the end of this year.
Citing the grind of national campaigning, Bush lamented the trivialities of retail politics and spending too much time answering questions such as, “How am I going to get to win the Muscatine Pork Roast straw poll, or something like that,” at inconsequential events.
Despite having a higher profile in recent weeks, Bush seemed to infer that he was being pulled into the 2016 campaign unwillingly.
“I just don’t want to go through that until the right time,” he said. “And it turns out that not running has generated more interest than if I said I was running. It’s kind of weird. I’m not that smart, I promise you, it just kind of happened that way.”
Bush was once thought to be the next family member in line to follow in his father’s footsteps to the presidency until he unexpectedly lost his race for the governorship of Florida to Lawton Chiles in 1994. He regrouped and ran again and won in 1998, but the torch had already been passed to his older brother, Texas Governor George W. Bush, who ran and won in 2000, defeating former Vice President Al Gore.