Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, the son of one U.S. president and the brother of another, said he wants to put to rest any talk of him becoming the running mate of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
“I am not going to be the veep nominee,” Bush said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. “Lay that to rest.”
The question arose after an earlier interview with the Newsmax.TV website in which Bush didn’t rule out the idea. In the interview, he touted the qualifications of U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida for the second spot on the ticket.
Bush was questioned about his own chances for being asked by the former Massachusetts governor to be his running mate.
“Well I’d consider it,” Bush told Newsmax, “but I doubt I’ll get a call, and I don’t know if it’s the right thing for me to do. I didn’t run for president for a similar kind of reason, so I’m all in to try to help him get elected.”
Bush had refrained from endorsing any candidate for president before Florida’s Republican presidential primary on Jan. 31. Romney led the runner-up in that contest, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia, by more than 14 percentage points. More recently, Bush endorsed Romney, and has repeatedly said he is ready to campaign for the party’s 2012 nominee.
Bush served two terms as Florida’s governor, leaving office in January 2007. His older brother, George W. Bush, a former governor of Texas, served two terms as president. Their father, George H.W. Bush, served one term as president.
Jeb Bush, who has returned to private business, has declined entreaties from some within his party to seek higher office -- including a U.S. Senate seat that opened in Florida and his party’s nomination for president this year.
Asked yesterday about his comments in the Newsmax interview, Bush said he won’t be a candidate for vice president either.
“I guess I wasn’t clear enough,” he said.