Networks Begin Slanted 2016 Coverage, Tout Problems for Jeb Bush

On Monday, all three network morning shows covered George P. Bush – the son of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and current candidate for Texas land commissioner – telling ABC's Jonathan Karl that his father would likely make a 2016 presidential run. In addition, all three shows made sure to remind viewers of former First Lady Barbara Bush's objection to another one of her sons running for president.

NBC's Today offered a full report on the topic, with White House correspondent Kristen Welker proclaiming: "While polls show Bush is in the top tier when matched against other potential Republican candidates, political analysts say he could struggle in a primary. In April, he ruffled some feathers in his party's base with these comments about immigration....And one factor that kept him out of the race in 2012, the shadow of his brother's presidency."

Welker continued: "While Jeb Bush's brother and father, both former presidents, have encouraged a run, the prospect of yet another Clinton-Bush face-off was something even his own mother was not keen on." A clip ran of Barbara Bush remarking: "It's not just four families or whatever. There are just – there are other people out there that are very qualified and we've had enough Bushs."

On CBS This Morning, after co-host Norah O'Donnell summarized the comments from George P. Bush, fellow co-host Gayle King chimed in: "Yeah, I wonder if Barbara Bush is on board? Because she said, 'I don't know.'" O'Donnell added: "The [New York] Times says that – yeah, that she's not, but they've told her not to voice it so publicly now."

On ABC's Good Morning America, after getting Jonathan Karl's report on the comments, co-host George Stephanopoulos declared: "And Barbara Bush still reported to be concerned, but gonna keep it quiet for now." Karl replied: "Yeah, the one skeptic – the one skeptic in the family, yes." Fellow co-host Robin Roberts added: "Keep it quiet for now, as you put it."

Here are transcripts of the October 27 morning show coverage:

Today
7:17 AM ET

MATT LAUER: Let's talk about politics, shall we? The midterm elections just around the corner. But this morning, talk is growing about the next election, the presidential race of 2016. There are new signs that former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is seriously considering a run. NBC's White House correspondent Kristen Welker has more on that. Kristen, good morning.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Bush vs. Clinton in 2016?; Jeb's Son: Possibility of Run "More Than Likely"]

KRISTEN WELKER: Hey, Matt, good morning. Speculation has long been mounting about a possible Jeb Bush presidential bid. Well, over the weekend, his son – who's a candidate in Texas this year – seemed to suggest his dad is leaning toward yes.

He's the former governor of Florida and part of a political dynasty. But now, Jeb Bush may soon take on the title of presidential candidate.

GEORGE P. BUSH: I think he's still assessing it.

WELKER: In an interview over the weekend, Jeb's son, George P. Bush, who's running for Texas land commissioner, was asked if there was a better than 50% chance his dad will run in 2016.

BUSH: I think it's more than likely that he's giving this a serious thought in moving forward.

JON KARL: More than likely that he'll run?

BUSH: That he'll run.

WELKER: Republican officials agree.

KIRSTEN KUKOWSKI [REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE]: There's a lot of people, whether it be our donor community, you know, people we talk to, who say that he's leaning toward yes.

WELKER: While polls show Bush is in the top tier when matched against other potential Republican candidates, political analysts say he could struggle in a primary. In April, he ruffled some feathers in his party's base with these comments about immigration.

JEB BUSH: It's an act of love. It's an act of commitment to your family.

WELKER: And one factor that kept him out of the race in 2012, the shadow of his brother's presidency.

SUSAN PAGE [WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, USA TODAY]: I think the party is somewhat friendlier to a Jeb Bush candidacy now. And, in addition, it's been a couple more years since his brother was in the White House.

WELKER: While Jeb Bush's brother and father, both former presidents, have encouraged a run, the prospect of yet another Clinton-Bush face-off was something even his own mother was not keen on.

BARBARA BUSH: It's not just four families or whatever. There are just – there are other people out there that are very qualified and we've had enough Bushs.

WELKER: But his son George says if his dad runs, the Bush family will be all in.

GEORGE P. BUSH: The family will be behind him 100% if he decides to do it.

WELKER: Now a spokesperson for Jeb's father, former President George H.W. Bush, reaffirmed that idea, telling me, quote, "If it was up to the 41st president, Jeb would, indeed, be a candidate for president."

Jeb has given few clues himself, though, only saying recently it's a big decision. And it's expected that he will make that decision in the next several months. Matt, guys, back to you.

LAUER: Alright, Kristen, thank you very much.

HODA KOTB: It's gonna be interesting.


CBS This Morning
7:31 AM ET

NORAH O'DONNELL: Politico says Jeb Bush's son believes his father will more than likely run for president. George P. Bush said his father is still assessing a run for the 2016 Republican nomination. The younger Bush, who is a GOP candidate for Texas land commissioner, says the family will be behind Jeb Bush 100% if he does go for the White House. A front-page piece in The New York Times, too.

GAYLE KING: Yeah, I wonder if Barbara Bush is on board? Because she said, "I don't know."

O'DONNELL: The Times says that – yeah, that she's not, but they've told her not to voice it so publicly now.

CHARLIE ROSE: It looks like everybody else is, except [her].

O'DONNELL: Except Barbara.

KING: That's right, but mom's strong.

O'DONNELL: Yeah, mom is strong.


Good Morning America
7:07 AM ET

(...)

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: And Jon, on a different note, on politics, you had a revealing interview with Jeb Bush's son, George P., over the weekend. Which really showed the Bush family closing ranks around a possible presidential run.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Bush vs Clinton, The Rematch?; Jeb's Son Speaks Out On 2016 Run]

JON KARL: Oh, no question about that, George. George P. Bush says that he believes that it is more likely than not that his father, Jeb Bush, will run for president. And I also spoke to a Bush family friend over the weekend who recently visited with George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president, who said that he is very active in encouraging his son, Jeb, to run. So it looks like the Bush family is fully on board. Of course we haven't heard from the man himself about whether or not he'll pull the trigger. I'm told that will happen sometime after the midterm elections.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Right. And Barbara Bush still reported to be concerned, but gonna keep it quiet for now.

KARL: Yeah, the one skeptic – the one skeptic in the family, yes.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Okay, Jon Karl, thanks very much.  

ROBIN ROBERTS: Keep it quiet for now, as you put it.

Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Conservatives & Republicans ABC Good Morning America CBS CBS This Morning NBC Today Video Norah O'Donnell George Stephanopoulos Kristen Welker Jeb Bush

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