Once against a White House run for Jeb, Barbara Bush is all in

Jeb Bush and his mother at a political rally in Florida in 1998.
(Robert Burke / Associated Press)

When Barbara Bush was asked two years ago about a potential presidential run by her son Jeb, she was direct in her response.

“I think it’s a great country. There are a lot of great families, and it’s not just four families or whatever. There are other people out there that are very qualified and we’ve had enough Bushes,” she said, alluding to her husband, George H.W. Bush, and son George W. Bush, who are the last two Republicans to serve in the White House.

Almost a year later, in January 2014, her response to a similar question, was less emphatic, saying simply that she hoped the former Florida governor would not run.


But in politics, a week can be a lifetime and a year, well, that brings us to Sunday.

The former first lady called on supporters to dole out cash to Bush’s super PAC, Right Rise, ahead of his expected run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

And the end-of-quarter fundraising plea wasn’t her first call to supporters.

Earlier this month, the former first lady sent out an email titled, “A mother knows best.” In that note to supporters, she said, “when the idea of Jeb running for president first came up, I was hesitant.”

“You may have heard about that,” she wrote.

For several months now, Jeb Bush has traversed the country raising millions of dollars for his super PAC and leadership PAC, which has the same name. He’s expected to formally announce his candidacy by the summer.

In his mother’s email to supporters on Sunday, she says Republicans need to send a message to “the Democrats and Hillary [Clinton] that we’re going to put up a fight in 2016.”

Both Jeb Bush and Clinton, the former first lady and secretary of state who is considered the likely Democratic nominee should she run, were at the center of comments Sunday by former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

O’Malley, a Democrat who is also exploring a White House run, seemed to echo Barbara Bush’s comments from two years ago.

“I think that our country always benefits from new leadership and new perspectives,” he said on ABC’S “This Week.” “Let’s be honest here, the presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed between two families, it is an awesome and sacred trust that has to be earned, and exercised on behalf of the American people.”

Twitter: @kurtisalee