Former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove is seen at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida August 27, 2012.
Photo by Eric Thayer/Reuters

Karl Rove declines to endorse Jeb Bush


Jeb Bush will have learned from this week’s firestorm over his Iraq War comments, says Karl Rove, the Republican strategist who helped steer his brother to the White House.

“He’s a very smart guy. He’s not a guy who needs the lesson taught to him twice,” Rove told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie on Friday.

Jeb Bush has been under fire from Republicans this week for a series of conflicting comments he’s made on how he would have handled the conflict in Iraq and how he would have differentiated himself from his brother.

But Rove, who served as George W. Bush’s deputy chief of staff, described campaigning for the White House as a “marathon, not a sprint,” and that there was plenty of time for Jeb Bush to recover.

“When you get in to this kind of contest, you find out that more is required of you, and you’re going to make mistakes,” he said. “I went through two key presidential campaigns where mistakes were made, and yet at the end of the day, the fellow who made the mistakes won.”

Rove said he hasn’t endorsed Bush — or any of the other Republican candidates who have formally declared their presidential bid.

Rove said he was months away from making his decision. “I want everybody to get in as a candidate and then start showing us what they’ve got.”

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George W. Bush, Jeb Bush and Karl Rove

Karl Rove declines to endorse Jeb Bush