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From Newsweek

Jeb on 2012 Run: Thanks, but No Thanks

Bush brother says he's 'not running for president.'


Jeb Bush campaigning for an Illinois gubernatorial candidate last month. (M. Spencer Green / AP)

D.C. flacks like to complain that sometimes a juicy Washington narrative can take on a life of its own based on nothing but rumors. It was certainly the case last week when, seemingly out of nowhere, Jeb Bush was widely floated as a candidate in the race for the 2012 GOP nomination. ABC News picked up on the fact that Bush’s personal Web site, Jeb.org, was empty, which could mean only that he was preparing to fill it with a presidential platform. Other strategists suggested that with the former Florida governor’s low profile, moderate stances, and fluent Spanish, he could be a competitive candidate against Obama in two years.

Except for one tiny problem: he says he's not interested.

It’s possible he enjoyed the attention and speculation for a week, but earlier today, when asked by a local news anchor in Louisville, Ky., Bush laid it out flat: “I’m not running for president.”

It’s hard to get more definitive than that (although if he did change his mind between now and the election, he wouldn’t be the first). Usually, would-be candidates do a little dance to leave the door open. Like Mitt Romney telling NEWSWEEK last week, through a spokesman, that he’s “focused on the midterm elections first.” Or Tim Pawlenty’s “I’ll decide next year.” Heck, the fact that Sarah Palin won’t answer questions about her future is a sure sign that it’s not completely out of the question.

But with Bush, nope, the door is closed, and short of his being labeled a flip-flopper, his 2012 star has been extinguished. Which is too bad, really. Bush would do well for both parties. Standing squarely on the right but with more centrist stances on immigration and job creation could really mobilize the GOP base and attract valuable independents. And for Democrats, there’s nothing that gets the coffers filled quite like the four-letter B word.

For now, Bush’s reasons are unclear. But they might have something to do with avoiding the unfavorable reputation and media spotlight that followed his brother out of office. He even recently complained that people still “blame my brother for their sniffles” a year and a half after he left the White House. Of course, that’s what happens when your family puts itself in the spotlight. One way to make it stop: firmly declare yourself out of bounds.

View a gallery of potential 2012 presidential candidates.

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