Jeb Bush presidential rumors are irrepressible

By A. James Memmott

January 5, 2011 at 11:17am

Could there be a Jeb Bush boom?

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal named the former Florida governor as one of nine people to watch this year. (Among others named were Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, NJ; and Kim Jong-un, son of North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong-il.)

The inclusion of the son of one former president and the brother of another may have surprised readers who hadn’t been watching Bush all that much since he left office in 2007 after serving two terms as governor. (Term limits barred him from seeking a third term.)

But the Journal suggests that Bush could emerge as a presidential hopeful in 2012 if Republicans perceive “the current assortment of GOP candidates as weak.”

Jeb Bush
Jeb Bush

Bush also popped up Monday on the Journal’s opinion page as the author of an essay on improvements in Florida public schools.

As governor, Bush emphasized education reform, an interest he continued after leaving office by establishing the Foundation for Excellence in Education.

Along with Carlos M. Gutierrez, secretary of commerce in George W. Bush’s administration, Bush also now serves as the co-chair of the Hispanic Leadership Network, an effort by Republicans to reach Latino voters.

The younger brother of George W. Bush, Jeb Bush, 57, heads the consulting firm Jeb Bush and Associates and serves on several company boards.

He has consistently denied an interest in running for the presidency in 2012.

Nonetheless, every time he says he doesn’t want to run, reporters list the reasons why he would be a credible candidate.

“He’s considered one of the party’s true idea guys,” Matt Bai of The New York Times wrote last June. In July, Peter Wallsten of the Wall Street Journal noted that Bush connects with Latinos, a demographic Republicans need.

“He speaks fluent Spanish, is married to a Mexican-American, and Latinos in his hometown of Miami consider him an honorary Cuban-American,” Wallsten wrote.

A member of the Republican establishment since birth, Bush also backed some winning Tea Party candidates in last year’s election cycle. They included Rick Scott, who was elected governor in Florida, and Rand Paul, elected to the Senate from Kentucky.

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