Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) is worried about being “sucked into the vortex” of national politics should he launch a presidential campaign.
“It’s the same decision-making process that I’ve always had,” Bush said of a White House Bid, speaking this month at a Washington event sponsored by the Wall Street Journal. “Which is: Do I have the skills to do it in a way that tries to lift people’s spirits and not get sucked into the vortex. It’s easy to say; it’s harder to do.”
Bush didn’t say exactly what he meant by “the vortex,” but his comments later in the interview suggest he was at least partially referring to the more outspoken conservative elements of his own party.
“I don’t know if I’d be a good candidate or a bad one. I kind of know how a Republican can win, whether it’s me or somebody else. And it has to be much more uplifting, much more positive, much more willing to be practical now in Washington world,” he said.
Some Republicans — including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who is also looking at running for president in 2106 — have accused Bush of being insufficiently conservative.
“If we run another candidate in the mould of a Bob Dole [in 1996] or a John McCain or Mitt Romney, we will end up with the same result, which is millions of people will stay home on Election Day,” Cruz reportedly said of Bush in an October interview. “And if we run another candidate like that, Hillary Clinton will be the next president.”
However, Bush argued at the Wall Street Journal event that Republicans may need a candidate willing to compromise in order to win the White House. Compared to conservative stalwarts like Cruz, Bush has staked out relatively moderate positions on hot-button issues like immigration and Common Core standards.
“Lose the primary to win the general, without violating your principles,” Bush said.
In addition to his questions about the Republican primary, Bush said his biggest concern is the impact a campaign would have on his family.
“And perhaps more important: Can I do it where the sacrifice for my family is tolerable. Every person who runs for office at any level, it’s a big sacrifice because it’s a pretty ugly business right now. So I’m not saying, ‘Oh woe is me’ here, don’t get me wrong. But there’s a level under which I would never subjugate my family because that’s my organising principle. That’s my life,” he said.
Though Bush has insisted he is undecided about whether or not he will launch a campaign, he recently took some actions indicate he is at least seriously considering it. Notably, he revealed on Sunday that he will release hundreds of thousands of emails from his tenure as Florida governor. Some observers have suggested this move is an attempt to contrast himself from other potential presidential hopefuls, notably former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), who have both been accused of being insufficiently transparent about their time in office.
Watch Bush make his comments below.
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