Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks during an event, Aug. 9, 2013, in Chicago, Ill.
M. Spencer Green/AP

Jeb Bush to decide on 2016 by end of year

Updated

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush will make a decision on whether he’ll enter the 2016 presidential race by the end of this year, he said during an interview on Fox News Channel Sunday during the 25th anniversary celebration of his father’s presidency in College Station, Texas. 

“I just don’t want to go through that until the right time,” Bush said. “I go through my [life] every day trying to avoid having to think about it.”

“And it turns out that not running has generated more interest than if I said I was running. It’s kind of weird. I’m not that smart, I promise you, it just kind of happened that way,” Bush said.

Bush said his decision would rest on whether he could run on a “hopeful, optimistic message” and do so without causing a “huge sacrifice” for his family. 

Bush, whose wife was born in Mexico, defended immigration reform, which has stalled in the House. 

He said in the Fox News interview that illegal immigration is, for many people, an effort to provide for their families, and “not a felony.”

“It’s an act of love. It’s an act of commitment to your family,” Bush said. “I honestly think that that is a different kind of crime. There should be a price paid, but it shouldn’t rile people up that people are actually coming to this country to provide for their families.”

Recent polling shows that the Florida Republican would be a formidable candidate:  In a CBS News/New York Times poll conducted in February, 41 percent of Republicans said they would like to see Bush run, edging out Sen. Rand Paul (39%), Sen. Marco Rubio (32%), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (31%) and Sen. Ted Cruz (24%).

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Jeb Bush to decide on 2016 by end of year

Updated