Mitt Romney very definitely appeared to throw a cheap jab at Jeb Bush as he announced Friday that he would not seek the 2016 presidential nomination, Rep. Peter King says.
"It does come across, when you first look at it, as being a shot at Jeb Bush," King, a New York Republican, told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
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The former Massachusetts governor bid adieu to growing speculation that he would try a third time to be elected commander-in-chief win the White House, announcing:
"I believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country, one who is just getting started, may well emerge as being better able to defeat the Democrat nominee.
"In fact, I expect and hope that to be the case."
That sounded like a blast at Bush, 61, who held a closed-door meeting with Romney just days ago about the upcoming presidential race, according to King, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee.
"I noticed that remark about the new generation … I was surprised because I thought he and Jeb Bush had a pretty good relationship," King said.
"Basically [he's] saying we need somebody much younger … Somebody that we haven't heard of before — and obviously we all have heard of the Bush family for many years."
"Obviously, if he's talking about somebody new, [he's] not talking about Jeb Bush. I don't know what prompted that from Mitt Romney — if he has somebody specific in mind or he just wants to block others form getting it."
Romney's decision comes after a number of his top donors and a veteran staffer in the early voting state of Iowa switched sides to support Bush.
The New York Times reported
that Republican strategist David Kochel, who previously worked on both of Romney's losing campaigns, is jumping on the Bush bandwagon.
Romney's exit also gives a number of other GOP presidential hopefuls a boost, including, Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey, Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.
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