Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush keeps denying he’ll run for president in 2012, but some politicians and pundits keep raising the possibility.
The most recent denial came Tuesday, when Kentucky TV station WHAS reported Bush’s rejecting the idea that he has any plans to move into the Oval Office that his brother and father had occupied for 12 of the past 22 years.
“I’m not running for president,” Bush told the reporter when asked when he planned to announce his candidacy, during a Louisville campaign appearance for Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul.
It wasn’t the first time he’s been asked the question.
Last week, an ABCNews.com blog posting titled “Another President Bush? Will Jeb Bush Set Sights on the White House?” surmised Bush planned to run because his website, Jeb.org, lacked any content.
“Is it waiting to be filled with a platform? Or is it left over from older ambitions?” ABCNews.com asked in the July 22 posting. "No doubt the Bush brand is damaged. But there is hope among Republicans that stigma is beginning to fade.”
But that report proved mere rumor.
The former Florida governor also dismissed efforts by his state’s Republican establishment to run for the U.S. Senate, according to Wall Street Journal blogger Peter Wallsten.
Bush’s stance differs from those such as Mitt Romney, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who have publicly said they would wait until after the midterm elections, and from Sarah Palin who has not commented.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum, who lost his re-election effort in Pennsylvania to Bob Casey Jr. in 2006, has plans to explore a White House bid, according to the Wall Street Journal. South Dakota Sen. John Thune also has been mentioned as a possible 2012 candidate.
As for Jeb’s denial, Wall Street Journal blogger Wallsten persisted in stoking the rumors today with this rationale: “Given the glaring demographic challenges facing Republicans, who tend to appeal mostly to white voters as the country grows more black and brown, Bush remains a tempting option. He speaks fluent Spanish, is married to a Mexican-American, and Latinos in his hometown of Miami consider him an honorary Cuban-American — giving him a foothold in Florida and the Mountain West, Latino-heavy areas that helped put Barack Obama in the White House.”
If push comes to shove and the GOP hasn’t settled on a candidate, Wallsten notes, “The theory goes that Jeb Bush could step in at the last minute as a unifying figure and instantly amass the fund-raising and political support needed to mount a national campaign. But it’s just a theory.”
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