Jeb Bush just the man for president, says John Boehner

Senior Republican taps yet another Bush for the White House, but it looks like a long shot

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 May, 2014, 9:11pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 May, 2014, 1:32am


The top Republican in Congress has delivered his strongest hint about his preference for the White House.

House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said he's "nudged" Jeb Bush to seek the nomination for president in 2016.

Bush is the former Florida governor, brother to president George W. Bush and son of president George H.W. Bush. If he decides to run, a possible showdown looms with another familiar name - Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former first lady and secretary of state and now a favoured hopeful of Democrats.

Various potential Republican candidates are jockeying for position, and Boehner cautioned that the talk was a bit premature, but didn't shy from praising Bush.

"Jeb Bush is my friend. I think he'd make a great president. I've nudged him for some time," he told the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Texas.

Republican senators Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas have been mentioned as possible candidates, along with a number of Republican governors. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, an early favourite, faces multiple investigations in a political retribution probe.

Bush, who speaks Spanish and whose wife was born in Mexico, has prompted questions about his viability as a potential contender by speaking with compassion for illegal immigrants. He sparked a conservative furore this month when he described illegal immigration as an "act of love" by people trying to provide for their families. He said immigrants who entered the country illegally should pay a penalty, but such a violation was "a different kind of crime".

Bush's views on immigration would likely put him at odds with conservative activists who influence the primary process that will decide the Republican nominee.

But he enjoys the support of some of the party's most powerful insiders and financiers, who are hoping the party can woo Hispanic voters and rebound from candidate Mitt Romney's damaging rhetoric in 2012, when he spoke of "self-deportation" as a solution to America's immigration issue.

The Bush family's vast fundraising network and political connections, in addition to Jeb Bush's own donors and advisers, could be formidable. And Jeb Bush remains a favourite on Wall Street, as senior adviser at the financial firm Barclays.

But his older brother's presidency, fraught with two long wars and the economy's near collapse, still looms. Even former first lady Barbara Bush has spoken of Bush fatigue, saying: "If we can't find more than two or three families to run for high office, that's silly."