Jeb Bush back in the spotlight after son's comments

Son: Jeb Bush 'likely' 2016 candidate
Son: Jeb Bush 'likely' 2016 candidate

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    Son: Jeb Bush 'likely' 2016 candidate

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Son: Jeb Bush 'likely' 2016 candidate 01:38

Story highlights

  • Jeb Bush's son told ABC that "it's more than likely" that Bush is giving 2016 run "serious thought"
  • Bush is expected to make a decision by the end of the year
  • Bush isn't giving any public indications of his thinking
While Jeb Bush is still publicly noncommittal about a possible presidential bid, his family is far less circumspect.
And if recent comments by George P. Bush are any indication, Jeb Bush's eldest son got the go-ahead from the family. The bigger question, of course, is whether Jeb Bush got the go-ahead -- from himself.
While George P. told ABC that "I think it's more than likely that he's giving this a serious thought in moving forward," it's still unclear whether his father is actually willing to dive into a presidential bid.
One source with knowledge of Jeb Bush's thinking tells CNN "wanting to do this and doing it are two different things." In fact this source adds, "He hasn't made a decision yet despite reports to the contrary. He is seriously considering and is going through a thoughtful process. He appreciates the warm wishes and support, but he is a methodical guy and won't change his timeline."
That timeline anticipates Jeb Bush making a decision by the end of the year. While some donors may be waiting to see what Bush does before they commit to a candidate, the source says Bush himself has not asked for them to stay on the sidelines. "They are calling him, but all he is saying is he hasn't made a decision. There is no organized outreach sanctioned by him."
Several donors told CNN that that in private sessions, Bush has not given any more indication than he has publicly about his intentions. One of the donors said "he is behaving as if he is looking at it seriously," but his reluctance to talk about it is "wearing thin."
The choice about whether to run, a source close to Bush explains is "a serious decision which he understands better than most."
With a brother and a father who have served in the highest office, that's a fact. But it's clear both of them -- Bush 41 and Bush 43 -- would like to him to run. "If you asked Dad the same question -- 'Should Jeb run?' -- he'd say yes," Neil Bush said in an interview with CNN earlier this year. "Yeah, he would say yeah."
Former President George W. Bush told Fox News earlier this month he had encouraged his brother to run. "He and I did have a conversation. I of course was pushing him to run for president. He of course was saying, 'I haven't made up my mind,'" Bush said. "He's seen his dad, he's seen his brother. And so he's a very thoughtful man and he's -- he's weighing his options."
One person who has not been enthusiastic about a possible Jeb Bush run has been his mother, Barbara Bush, who had told interviewers there were "enough Bushes" who had been President. However, Jeb told the AP that she was now "neutral, trending in a different direction."
The notion of Jeb Bush running is something that has resurfaced after years of dormancy. "If you had asked me a few years back, I would've said it was less likely," George P. Bush, who is running for Texas Land Commissioner, told ABC. "The family will be behind him 100% if he decides to do it."
One calculation that seems to have changed recently is Bush's closest family support. He told the Associated Press earlier this month that his wife, Columba, is "supportive" of a possible run for the presidency. Before his statement, many in political circles assumed she would be reluctant -- even a stumbling block- to engage in a presidential campaign.
Bush has been active on the campaign trail during the midterm elections, stumping for GOP candidates across the country -- and helping them raise money. He's clearly collected chits -- but then again, so have all of the potential Republican 2016 contenders.