Before the state-by-state presidential primaries comes the “Bush Primary,” in which Republican hopefuls seek endorsements and operational support from the clan that produced two U.S. presidents and a Florida governor, the Caucus blog of The New York Times
reports. Former Idaho Gov. and U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty already have met with family patriarch and former President George H.W. Bush, while Mitt Romney may have an edge because of a longstanding friendship with the elder Bush.
A proper shake of the family tree can yield prestigious backing, and access to a large network of party donors, campaign strategists and political activists. GOP hopefuls are said to be especially keen for the endorsement of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
In 2008, there was an unavoidable tension — notably for the eventual Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain of Arizona — between seeking the family’s support and keeping a distance from the unpopular policies of outgoing President George W. Bush. But those concerns have eased going into 2012 with a Democrat in the White House.
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