Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush played coy about a possible 2016 presidential run on Monday night.
“I have not gotten advice and I have not sought it yet,” Bush said when asked about his potential candidacy, according to Politico. “There’s a time to make a decision and you shouldn’t make it too early. This is not the time for me. This is the time for me to show a little self-restraint.”
But it didn’t stop him from advocating his successes and suggested it was a winning strategy.
Republicans won’t win “by narrowing your party and purifying your party and all this nonsense,” he said at Monday’s event at New York City’s 92nd Street Y, but he swore that his conservatism stood up – even in the current extremely partisan Republican Party.
“Look, I’m a conservative and I’m a practicing one, not a talk-about-it one,” Bush told the crowd. “I would put my record up against anybody that’s in Congress right now.”
He described himself as “temperate” and consistant in his positions, regardless of his audience. “I don’t change my message to any group,” he said. “It’s OK to have a tone that’s not nasty or mean-spirited.”
“The big knock on him has been is he too moderate, can he actually win a Repubilcan primary and he was arguing I’m as conservative as any member of Congress,” Politico’s Jim VandeHei said on Tuesday’s Morning Joe. “What’s interesting about Jeb Bush is the assumption was a month ago there was no chance that he runs. More and more we’re hearing from people who are talking with him that he actually is interested.”
“The notion that he could not be conservative enough speaks only to how much the party has changed,” Nicolle Wallace said on Morning Joe. Wallace, President Bush’s press secretary, also served as press secretary to Gov. Jeb Bush in Florida during his first term.
Some have also wondered whether Americans want another Bush in office.
“I think there’s an appetite for outsiders, but in the Republican Party we have an insatiable appetite for successful conservative governor’s and Jeb’s at the top of that list,” Wallace said. “I also think President George W. Bush has a higher approval rating than the current president. I also think his father, Bush 41, is one of the most revered political figures around the country and around the world.”