CASTLE ROCK, Colorado – Kids, they say the darndest things – especially when their last name is Bush.
“He’s got an opinion, he didn’t talk to me,” former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told msnbc on Wednesday. His son, George P. Bush, recently told ABC News that his father is “more than likely” to mount a presidential bid in 2016.
“When you have kids you’ll probably have the same frustration, you love them to death and they have their own opinions – but I’ll make up my mind just as I’ve said at the end of the year,” Bush said. “Same as I’ve always said, there’s nothing new here.”
Still, Bush sounded like a 2016 presidential candidate Wednesday night during a brief speech at a rally for Colorado’s GOP candidates in next week’s midterm elections. He criticized Democrat Hillary Clinton for remarking during a campaign stop earlier this month that “businesses don’t create jobs.”
“The former secretary of state who was campaigning in Massachusetts where she said, don’t let them tell you that businesses create jobs,” Bush said. “The problem with America today is that not enough jobs are being created, they are created by businesses, where people’s incomes rise, where they can live a life of purpose and meaning independent of government. That should be the mission.”
Sources close to the Bush family say the younger Bush is legitimately on the fence about mounting a presidential bid in 2016, but say he is seriously considering it – and many establishment Republican leaders and donors are pressing him in part because he’s viewed as someone who could mount a credible campaign against Clinton.
Jeb Bush has campaigned in more than 13 states this midterm election cycle and helped race money for a slate of Senate and gubernatorial candidates. He’s been particularly focused on nurturing ties with governors, many of whom he helped win in 2010. In New Mexico, for example, Gov. Susana Martinez incorporated portions of Bush’s education policy prescriptions into her platform, and Bush has helped her in her reelection fight this year.
Bush was in Colorado on Wednesday to campaign for the Republican slate of candidates on the ballot this November. Rep. Cory Gardner is locked in a close race with incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, and gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez is running a stronger-than-expected campaign against Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper.
The event was held at a fairgrounds in Douglas County, just south of Denver and about thirty miles north of Colorado Springs. The rally wasn’t particularly crowded; about 150 people gathered under a tent to listen to brief speeches from almost all of the slate’s congressional candidates.
Bush has been particularly focused on the Hispanic vote in Colorado, which in many ways mirrors the general electorate. He cut a Spanish-langauge TV ad for Gardner earlier this month, and attended a roundtable for Hispanic business owners earlier Wednesday.
“It’s the emerging voting group not just here but across the country,” Bush said. “The Colorado party and our candidates have made a big effort, and I think they’re going to see significant improvements over the last election cycle.
He added, “We’ve got good candidates and they’re doing the work necessary to reach out to all Coloradans.”