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Hmm. Jeb Bush doesn't 'anticipate' becoming a Republican candidate in 2012

Republican former Florida Governor Jeb BushWith the Republican presidential field still not coalescing around a dominant front-runner, despite the incumbent Democrat's obvious weakness, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says he does not "anticipate" running for the White House in 2012.

Anticipate?

Yeh, that's what we thought too.

With Bushes having occupied the Oval Office for 12 of the last 22 years (and the last one leaving with notably low approvals), we figured if Jeb was going to take a turn at the nation's top political prize, it would be 2016.

At only 58, the family's likable and most natural politician still has plenty of time, and that timetable would let the fading animus toward older brother George W. fade even further.

But there was Jeb tonight on the Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity show saying, "You never say never."

He's still saying, no, no, I'm not running. And it is getting late for 2012 presidential planning. Ask Rick Perry, the man who's been Texas governor ever since George W. left the Austin mansion across the street from the Capitol. Perry will likely be jumping into the crowded but lackluster GOP field in early August.

Here's how the two-term, bilingual governor of the crucial Sunshine State described a possible candidacy:

I don’t anticipate that. You never say never. This is a standard answer that I’ve kind of learned how to give which is -- you never say never, but I never rule out being on Dancing with the Stars either … there are a lot of ways you can make a difference.

Who, btw, said he had to make a difference? He did.

On President Obama's repetitive criticism of brother George W.: "That’s a personal thing for me, Sean. I get tired of it. I think most people do."

On the chance that anyone in the current GOP could politically knock off an incumbent Democrat expecting to spend a billion dollars to extend his White House lease:

If you recall, my dad in 1992 had an approval rating that was double what President Obama has right now and he was running against the seven dwarfs I think. … And one of those dwarfs became president … dwarf, you know President Clinton, so the notion that somehow these aren’t folks that are capable of winning I just think is ridiculous. These are good people.

Good people, perhaps. But any with the heft and charisma to excite Americans enough and win?

They’re capable. They’ve made the all-in commitment and this yearning for something else is very flattering for someone if you’re that someone else. But in reality I think this race, we have qualified candidates and as it gets closer to the primaries to the caucuses and primaries, I think people will begin to see the mettle of the men and women that are running.

And if they don't?

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: John Raoux / Associated Press

 
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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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