Former first lady once said there had been too many Bushes in the White House
As her son Jeb ponders presidential campaign, she says she has changed her mind
But it might have been an inside joke referring to his work in a literacy forum
Jeb Bush got a public blessing from his mom Friday night, who said she changed her mind about having had too many Bushes, a reference to a statement she had once made when asked if son Jeb should run for President.
“Our problems are so big that it doesn’t matter what your last name is in America. If America needs you for as long as you can help,” former first lady Barbara Bush said.
Her remarks seemed to flirt with being an endorsement for Jeb Bush to run for the highest office. Yet, they were made in the context of her son’s involvement in charity work.
Jeb Bush was speaking at a benefit for the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy in Bonita Springs, Florida. His mother’s comments deliberately and publicly poked fun at the flap over her previous remarks.
While talking about the number of family members involved in the cause, Jeb Bush said, “My mother not long ago said, ‘There have been enough Bushes’ (in the White House). And it got me thinking, if we’ve had enough Bushes in one forum, do we have too many Bushes in the family literacy forum today?”
In a surprise for the audience, Barbara Bush appeared on the auditorium’s big-screen monitors.
She said, “Just listening in. Anyway … what do you mean too many Bushes? Are you talking about the legacy? That’s not what I’m talking about, but I’ve changed my mind.”
“Our problems are still so big in illiteracy that it doesn’t matter what your last name is.”
Jeb Bush said, “Hey Mom, can I get that in writing, by the way, just for the record?”
His mother responded, “I said our problems are so big that it doesn’t matter what your last name is in America, if America needs you for as long as you can help. And yes, you can get it in writing and in public.”
Jeb responded, “Mother, I love you. You’re the greatest mom in the world and we’re so inspired by everything that you (do)”.
The camera later panned to former President George H.W. Bush, who was also on the video hookup.
CNN’s Ashley James contributed to this report.