Jeb Bush in 2016? Flip a Coin, George W. Bush Says

The 43rd president is the latest member of the Bush family to encourage the former Florida governor to seek the White House in 2016.

Photograph by Gage Skidmore/Flickr

There's a "50-50" chance that former Florida Governor Jeb Bush will seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, according to his older brother, former president George W. Bush.

"I'd give it a tossup," the 43rd president said in an interview on CBS's "Face the Nation" program airing Sunday. "I know this about Jeb. He is not afraid to succeed. In other words, I think he knows he could do the job. And nor is he afraid to fail."

"I occasionally fuel the speculation by saying that I hope he runs.  I think he'd be a very good president," George W. Bush said, adding that his brother is "wrestling with the decision."

Jeb Bush's eldest son, George P. Bush, has also fueled the speculation, saying on ABC two weeks ago that his father is "more than likely" to run for the White House and that the Bush family "will be behind him 100 percent if he decides to do it." George P. Bush was elected Texas land commissioner on November 4, winning 61 percent of the vote.

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"I'll do whatever he wants," George W. Bush said. "I will be one of his strongest backers. If he wants me out there publicly, I'll be out there publicly.  If he wants me behind the scenes, I'll be behind the scenes."

Asked whether running for president is worth the strain on a candidate's family, one of the former Florida governor's chief concerns, his brother said, "Yeah, it is."

"I put our family through it. And one of the lessons you learn from George H.W. Bush is that you can go into politics and still be a good father. In other words, the priorities of your life don't have to be compromised."

George W. Bush's wife, Laura, said social media has made that a harder calculation, though. "Lots of mean and terrible things on the internet about every family member, which—even we didn't have. But I think that everyone has to weigh that," she said.

Jeb Bush served as governor from 1999 to 2007 in the state that hosted the closest vote of the 2012 presidential election. Florida has 29 electoral votes, tied for the third-most in the nation.

With the midterm elections in the books, prospective presidential candidates will be focusing on the 2016 White House race and making their plans known over the next few months. 

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