Ros-Lehtinen: If Jeb Runs for President, 'I'm With Him'

Image: Ros-Lehtinen: If Jeb Runs for President, 'I'm With Him'

Tuesday, 15 Apr 2014 09:34 AM

By Sharon Churcher

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A prominent Miami Republican says that if Jeb Bush opts to run for president in 2016, "I'm with him."

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen told The Hill that she will back the former Florida governor in what is expected to be a crowded GOP primary.

The younger brother of former President George W. Bush is testing the waters for a White House bid and has said he will announce his decision by the end of this year.

A former chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ros-Lehtinen is a longtime supporter of Jeb Bush, having hired him as her campaign manager for her first congressional bid in 1989.

She said she expects at least one of his prospective opponents, Sen. Marco Rubio, also a Florida Republican, to opt out if Bush tosses his hat in the ring.

"Maybe some folks don't think that [Bush is] as conservative as he should be, but he's a very pragmatic conservative and compassionate man, as well," Ros-Lehtinen said.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is also a fan of Bush's. Earlier this year on "The Tonight Show," he said Bush would be a "great president."

But the New York Daily News reported that at least a handful of Republicans aren't enthusiastic about a Bush candidacy.

"A growing group of GOP senators are warning that voters could experience 'Bush fatigue' if the former Florida governor — and brother and son of former U.S. Presidents George W. and George H.W., respectively — were to run," the newspaper reported.

It quoted Oklahoma Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe as saying, "It's time to turn the page. Looking at it practically: There are others who could do a better job in terms of winning the election."

Inhofe added that voters — especially those within the conservative base of the party — may desire a candidate who is further to the right than Jeb, who since leaving office in 2007 appears to have positioned himself as more of a centrist.

"It's a little bit of Bush fatigue, but the other thing is, for a Republican to win a race like that, you got to have someone who really engenders enthusiasm in the base," Inhofe added. "Jeb's a wonderful guy and all that, but I don't believe he'd be able to do that."

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