George P. Bush: Don’t count father Jeb out as future presidential contender

Jamie Weinstein Senior Writer
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George P. Bush told The Daily Caller on Wednesday that although he wishes his father, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, would enter the 2012 race for the White House, he doesn’t count him out as a future presidential contender.

“I think that time will only continue to benefit not only my uncle’s record [former President George W. Bush], but my dad’s opportunity to run for higher office,” the younger Bush said, while answering whether the notion of “Bush fatigue” has weighed heavily on his father’s electoral considerations. “Make no mistake about it, I think a lot of people sorely miss and would relish some sort of return of that type of approach to leading our country.”

“It’s not do or die in this cycle by any means,” Bush added. “My dad’s a young guy.”

Bush did suggest, however, that the immediate perception of his uncle after he left the White House may have hindered his father’s short-term electoral options.

“For better or for worse, they share the same name, they share the same blood, and kinship, and therefore it’s just difficult,” he said.

George P. Bush himself is widely seen as the heir to his family’s vaunted political legacy. He told TheDC that, having recently returned to Texas from a tour of Afghanistan as an intelligence officer in the Navy Reserves, he is focused first on building his family and his career in real estate.

“My personal goal is to have a few kids and establish a career in business,” the married 35-year-old said. “But I love floating out behind the scenes and who knows, the door maybe open and the right opportunity may arrive in the future.” (Rove: Bachmann should release medical records)

That doesn’t mean Bush is totally removed from politics. He currently co-chairs Maverick PAC (MAVPAC) with former George W. Bush White House liaison to the Jewish Community Jay Zeidman. The PAC, which has focused on Texas politics since its inception in 2004, is expanding nationally for the 2012 election cycle.

The PAC’s goal, Bush says, “is really to engage younger people in the political process.”

“One way in which we can do that is to get them in front of elected officials, people that are running from similar view points, have a similar philosophy and kind of understand the generational issues that are taking place in D.C., especially with respect to the debt,” he said.

Asked what kinds of candidates MAVPAC will support, Bush said, “somebody who’s young, somebody who has the ability to inspire young Americans to get involved in the process.”

“Guys like [Florida Republican Sen.] Marco Rubio,” he continued. “Ideologically speaking, we’re right-center, but we’re kind of big-tent, if that makes sense, on social questions.”

Asked where the PAC’s membership stands on foreign policy, Bush said they are still working that out, but generally it’s “pretty hawkish in the grand scheme of things. But to be honest with you, we really haven’t had, at our annual conference, we haven’t meaningfully thought about, you know, what our litmus test is with respect to foreign policy.”

Bush also said he has been closely following the Republican presidential primary race, though he is not personally ready to endorse a particular candidate. He spoke positively about former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, as well as possible contender Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

He said he thinks the race would have benefited from the addition of people like his father, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

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