Is Jeb Bush Withholding Endorsement of Romney to Prepare for a Run at 2016 Presidency?

Mitt Romney easily prevailed in last night’s Florida primary despite a lack of endorsement from Florida’s popular former governor Jeb Bush.  It has been widely reported that Mitt Romney has been courting Bush. So far his plight has been unsuccessful.  It now appears as if Jeb Bush has taken over the role of Republican adjudicator in the battle for presidency, especially as the battle has heated up between Romney and Newt Gingrich.  Just last week, Mr. Bush told Bloomberg that he will “stay neutral” in the Republican presidential primaries, warning against the “circular firing squad” among the remaining candidates.

While this neutrality does not necessarily signal that Jeb Bush is considering a run at the White House in 2016, it certainly puts him in a good position if the eventual Republican nominee is defeated this coming November.  Mr. Bush has a lot of support among Hispanic voters, which would be very beneficial in an election scenario.  As Mr. Bush himself wrote in a recent Washington Post op-ed, “In the 15 states that are likely to decide who controls the White House and Senate in 2013, Hispanic voters will represent the margin of victory.”

This support certainly makes Bush attractive as a possible vice presidential choice of either Gingrich or Romney in 2012.  This would all but assure the Republican nominee a victory in the state of Florida in the national election.  The other possibility is that Mr. Bush is treading carefully within the Republican Party so as not to agitate the conservatives by opposing Gingrich.  This would give him some flexibility were he to run for the Presidency in 2016.

Last week, Jeb Bush, along with his father and former president George H.W Bush, paid a visit to President Obama the oval office.  Five years from now Jeb Bush could have his own desk in the Oval Office.

Photo credit: Flickr/White House

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