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Governors drum up support for another Bush presidency

February 23, 1999
Web posted at: 3:26 p.m. EST (2026 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, February 23, 1999) -- At the annual National Governors Association winter meeting, backers of Gov. George W. Bush canvased support for the Texan's expected bid for the president. While Bush has a steady stream of fund-raisers and consultants in Austin, he's playing it cool in the nation's capital.

"So this warm day in February, has it warmed you up to presidential ambitions?" one reporter asked Monday.

Bush
Texas Gov. George W. Bush is expected to run for president  

"It's been really warm in Austin," Bush said carefully. "It's warm here, too," he added before laughing.

Despite the best efforts of the Washington press corps, Bush wouldn't announce his candidacy.

"I'm listening to a lot of friends and folks and will let people know at the appropriate time. Right now I'm focused on the Texas legislature," said the son of another George Bush from Texas who occupied the White House.

But his words mattered less than the picture: the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000, at the White House, where he and the rest of the nation's governors met with President Bill Clinton.

Playing his hand close to his vest, Bush is talking only to the homestate press. "I'm more interested in fulfilling my obligation to the people of Texas." He has dodged interviews with other media. "Avoiding isn't the right word, I just didn't accept their invitations," he said.

Bush, Engler
Bush with Michigan Gov. John Engler  

Yet Bush's undeclared presidential campaign picked up momentum. Michigan Republican Governor John Engler spent the weekend drumming up support for a Bush bid. Bush supporters say at least two-thirds of the 30 other GOP governors would support him.

"He's been extremely effective building coalitions and minority coalitions. He's also been extremely effective at improving education," said Gov. Frank Keating, (R-Oklahoma).

Not all GOP governors are in the Bush camp. Among those still biding their time before throwing their weight, Wisconsin's Tommy Thompson and New Jersey's Christine Todd Whitman.

But there's one key endorsement Bush can count on: Jeb Bush, GOP governor of Florida, and his younger brother.


CAMPAIGN 2000

New Hampshire sets February 1 primary date (9-28-99)

Arizona governor endorses Bush over McCain (9-28-99)

Bradley unveils $65 billion plan for universal health care (9-28-99)

Gore receives endorsements of Shaquille O'Neal and Bill Cosby (9-28-99)

MORE HEADLINES


FOLLOW THE MONEY

How much money have the candidates raised? Here are their quarterly reports to the Federal Election Commission.


VIDEO

McCain officially announces Presidential candidacy (9-28-99) video Windows Media: 28K | 80K

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'TOONS
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Mike Luckovich: "There's a whine in the air" (9-22-99) more


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Tuesday, February 23, 1999

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