George W. Bush says brother Jeb should run for president 'if he wants to'
In one of the few television interviews he's granted since his
departure from office, former President George W. Bush said that his
brother, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, should "run for President if
he wants to. He'd be a great one."
The 43rd president made the comments in an interview with Jay Leno
Tuesday on NBC's "The Tonight Show," where he appeared with his wife
The question about his brother was a rare detour into current events
in the interview, which was primarily concerned with Bush's post-White
House life and his painting habit.
Bush told Leno that he was inspired to take up painting after reading
a Winston Churchill essay. When he hired an instructor for weekly
lessons, he said he told her "There's a Rembrandt trapped in this body.
Your job is to find it."
Bush shared paintings of his dog Barney and a stray cat that he
adopted and named Bob ("so I can remember how to spell it when I got
older") and said painting has changed his life. He presented Leno with a
portrait of the comedian, prompting Leno to say: "I can't make fun of
When Leno mentioned that Bush had avoided speaking on policy
questions during his post-presidential career, Bush said, "I don't think
it's good for the country for a former president to criticize his
successor. ... It's hard for some to believe, but I think eight years in
the spotlight's enough."
When asked to reflect on his presidential legacy, Bush said "It's
gonna take a while for history to judge my decisions. Therefore, I'm not
too worried. They're still writing biographies about the first guy
(George Washington). The 43rd doesn't have to worry."
The interview also touched on the troubles of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford,
to whom Bush recommended, "have an annual physical." Bush, 67, credited
his own annual doctor's visit with detecting the artery blockage that
forced him to undergo heart surgery this past August. When asked what he
thought caused the issue, Bush joked, "I didn't behave that well when I
was younger and I might have smoked some."
Jeb Bush, who served as Governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007, has
been mooted as a possible candidate for the GOP presidential nomination
in 2016, but has not said publicly whether he will enter the race.