Jeb Bush's 'Act of Love' for Family May Affect 2016 Run

Image: Jeb Bush's 'Act of Love' for Family May Affect 2016 Run Jeb Bush and wife Columba

Monday, 12 May 2014 09:11 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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The biggest problem facing Jeb Bush as he contemplates whether to become a Republican presidential contender is how will it affect his beloved family, especially his wife, Columba.

The former Florida governor’s devoted Mexican-born wife intensely dislikes being in the public eye, while his daughter Noelle has struggled with drugs in the past, The Washington Post reported.

Earlier this year, Bush was criticized by conservatives for his comments about illegal immigrants coming to America as an "act of love" for their families. Ironically, Bush has some strong misgivings about running for the highest office out of an "act of love" for his family.

"The family issues are Columba, 1, 2, and 3, it’s whether she’s up for it," a family source told the Post. "She’s cognizant of what a campaign would be like, and she would have to come to terms with that. He’s not going to do it over her objections."

Urgent: Who Is Your Choice for the GOP's 2016 Nominee?

Bush, 61, son of former President George H. W. Bush and brother of former President George W. Bush, has consistently maintained that he will only make a run for the White House if his family is willing to face being put under a microscope during the long campaign.

"Columba is not in any way power-ambitious," said lawyer Rafael PeƱalver Jr., a family friend for three decades. "She is a very private person. She’s supportive and will stand by him, even taking roles that are not in her nature."

That doesn’t mean she’s going to enjoy it, especially the more visible parts of the job as a potential presidential nominee, such as fundraising, speaking at functions, and the dreaded media interviews, especially in front of the cameras.

Columba, who speaks Spanish at home with her husband and appears uncomfortable speaking English in public, even declined to be interviewed for the Post story.

His wife’s disdain for being in the spotlight is not Bush’s only concern. He’s also worried about how his 36-year-old daughter will handle having her past problems dragged up again.

A dozen years ago, Noelle Bush was arrested for attempting to obtain Xanax, an anti-depression drug, with a fake prescription. Later, after she had violated a court-ordered drug treatment plan, she was sentenced to three days in an Orlando jail. Since then, Noelle has basically dropped out of sight.

Bush is also concerned that his possible run for the presidency may hinder his eldest son George P. Bush’s campaign to join the Bush family’s political dynasty by becoming a land commissioner in Texas.

His younger son, Jeb Jr., who runs an investment firm with his father, is also testing the political waters by campaign for GOP causes, particularly pushing for more Hispanics to run for government office, according to the Post.

"He has a family that’s very private, even as he lives in a very public world. He doesn’t take that lightly," a GOP strategist close to Jeb Bush Sr. told the Post.

Four decades ago, Bush fell in love at first sight when he met Columba while on a school study trip to Mexico as a student at the prestigious Phillips Andover Academy. However, although she was also smitten, despite his family heritage, she never really took to being a politician’s wife.

And in his first year as governor, she discovered how harsh life can be as a member of a powerful family when she was detained by U.S. Customs agents at the Atlanta airport. She claimed that she’d only bought $500 in clothes from a Paris shopping jaunt when, in fact, her purchases amounted to $19,000.

Like her daughter’s previous addiction woes, Columba’s little indiscretion is likely to resurface in a potential presidential campaign.

"I did not ask to join a famous family," Columba once said. "I simply wanted to marry the man I loved."

Urgent: Who Is Your Choice for the GOP's 2016 Nominee?

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