Like singing Christmas carols in October, the 2016 Republican primary is getting an unseemly early start: Republican candidates are already squabbling over the next nominee before the campaign starts in three years.
Jeb Bush, Jr. clumsily suggested his father might run in 2016 on CNN. The younger Jeb responded to queries about another Bush run with “I don’t know,” “no comment” and “I hope so,” throwing flames on the rumors that the former Florida Governor, and little brother of former president George W. Bush, might seek higher office.
Rand Paul has also thrown his hat in the ring: "I'm not going to deny that I’m interested” in a 2016 presidential run, the Republican Senator from Kentucky said. “I am different than some in that I’m not going to deny that I’m interested. I’m not going to deny that I think we have to go a different direction because we’re not winning.”
(And lest we forget the other side of the aisle, Hillary Clinton has promised a year of rest—postponing Democrat speculations for a blessed 12 months—but she hasn’t denied the possibility that she may run again for the office her husband once held.)
Bush’s name is a liability more than an asset, Willie Geist said. “We already know the attack on him, we can’t go back to the Bush years, they’ve already started that,” he said. “But don’t you think if you took his name off, he’s an ideal candidate? He’s from Florida, he’s moderate on some issues, immigration, he would be the guy if you took that name off.”
But still others say Florida Senator Marco Rubio is the Republican to watch from Florida.
The Senator recently headlined a fundraiser for Iowa Governor and fellow Republican Terry Branstad, speaking out about lower taxes and less regulations. He also dodged questions on the age of the Earth, perhaps hoping by the actual primary he would indeed, be a scientist, man.
Jeb Bush Jr. didn’t resist the opportunity to wax on his father’s potential primary opponent, calling his response on the Earth’s age a “kind of head-scratching answer.”
Morning Joe’s Donny Deutsch said Rubio’s trepidation is a weakness—one that showed in his response last week to Gov. Mitt Romney's comments that he lost the election because of Obama's financial ‘gifts’ to the electorate.
“Even then [Rubio] was straddling the fence!” Deutsche said.
After the gifts remarks, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, another possible Republican contender, condemned the former presidential nominee for dividing voters. The GOP has to “go after 100 percent of the votes, not 53 percent. We need to go after every single vote,” Jindal said.
Morning Joe favorite New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is another popular choice in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, with one poll showing that 36% of New Yorkers ranked the governor's response to the disaster the best of any politician. The president and New York City mayor both earned lower scores.
Christie looks particularly strong when compared to Rubio, the Morning Joe crew commented.
“Christie was a prosecutor, this is a guy who made decisions, went after bad guys, it’s a very task oriented job, versus a guy [Rubio] who was a state senator, not the same kind of stuff, what is he really bringing to the table?” Deutsch asked. “This guy’s got the right stuff, you can’t argue with it.”