WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former President George W. Bush said he wants his brother Jeb to run for president in 2016, in an interview with CNN released on Thursday.
“I hope Jeb runs,” Bush told CNN. “I think he would be a great president. I have no clue what’s going on in his mind and we will talk when he’s ready. I noticed he’s moving around the country quite a bit.”
Jeb Bush, a former governor of Florida, has said he will make a decision on whether to run after November’s congressional elections. His older brother served as president from 2001 to 2009, and his father, George H.W. Bush, served in the White House from 1989 to 1993.
Jeb Bush has been touring the country delivering speeches and raising money for Republicans, though he has been less open about possible presidential ambitions than some other contenders.
He is seen as a favorite of Republican donors who are more moderate than the Tea Party and he performs well in preliminary national polls, which are rarely predictive this far ahead of elections.
Bush has also begun wading into the midterm elections: on Thursday he endorsed Thom Tillis, a moderate Republican running for his party’s nomination for Senate in North Carolina.
Still in the early stages of considering a run, Bush came under fire from conservatives in early April for characterizing illegal immigration as an “act of love.”
“Hey Jeb, if you need some advice, give me a call,” said the former president, who has kept a low profile since leaving the White House.
Reporting by Gabriel Debenedetti; Editing by Lisa Shumaker