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Bush 41 suggests a Bush 45, not now, maybe later

January 6, 2009 |  6:54 am

The U S Navy's newest nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the George H. W. Bush, CVN 77, ready for commissioning by the former president himself on Saturday January 10, 2009 at Norfolk Naval Station, Va

(UPDATE: See update below on Jeb Bush's political non-plans.)

Security should be fairly adequate tomorrow at the White House when all three living former presidents have lunch with the current president and the incoming president in the same room.

The welcome lunch, organized by Bush 43 for Obama 44, will include Bush 41 and Clinton 42 and Carter 39. Wouldn't that be a transcript to chew on in the National Archives?

President Bush's chief of staff, Josh Bolten, held the same kind of lunch last month for Obama's COS-designate, Rahm Emanuel, and numerous past chiefs of staff, including Vice President Dick Cheney, who held that job for Gerald Ford 38.

Bush 41 says he's impressed with the president-elect's eloquence. He doesn't know Obama well but talked to him by phone after the election to "assure him that he was my president."

Of course, right now, Bush 41's oldest son is his president. But he thinks maybe another son, Jeb, the former Florida governor, would make a good commander in chief someday. "Former president George H W Bush with son Jeb, then Governor of FloridaI'd like to see him run," said dad, conceding that "right now is probably a bad time, because we've got enough Bushes in there."

Jeb is only 55 and with Republican Sen. Mel Martinez's retirement next year, there'll be an open election in the Sunshine State. "He'd be an outstanding senator," says Bush 41. "This is a guy that really has a feel for people, the issues in Florida and nationally."

Jeb's decision could come soon, but friends say it might well be no for now.

(UPDATE: It was no. GOP loses biggest name for 2010 Senate race. Tuesday, Jan. 6 Jeb Bush was phoning friends, saying he'd decided not to seek seat of the retiring Republican Sen. Mel Martinez. More details here. This decision puts the seat in play and could give the Senate's Democratic Majority Leader happy Harry Reid one more chair toward his coveted GOP-filibuster proof 60-seat majority.)

The former president anticipates some emotion this Saturday when he commissions the new aircraft carrier named for him (See photo above.). "Tears will be flowing," Bush 41 said on "Fox News Sunday."

A young Pacific theater combat pilot in World War II, Bush 41 holds the distinction of being the only president to pilot a plane off an aircraft carrier one more time than he landed on one; he was shot down and rescued by a U.S. submarine.

"This brings back a lot of memories," Bush 41 said of the carrier's commissioning. "It's kind of the last big thing in my life."

Well, not quite. Bush 41 thinks he'd like to jump out of an airplane, willingly, one more time, a parachute jump to mark his 85th birthday come June 12. "Just because you're an old guy," he adds, "you don't need to sit around, sucking your thumb, drooling in the corner."

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo credits: Associated Press (Former President Bush with son Jeb). U.S. Navy (CVN 77, the George H.W. Bush at Norfolk Naval station awaiting commissioning Jan. 10, 2009).

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