ABILENE, Texas (AP) — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush spent Tuesday campaigning for his son, George P. Bush, a candidate for Texas Land Commissioner. Here's an excerpt of their interview with The Associated Press.
Q: This is an easy race for state land commissioner and George P. Bush is expected to win. Gov. Bush, why are you here?
JEB BUSH: "I invited myself. I love him. ... He doesn't need me. The guy is grinding it out. He's worked harder than any candidate probably running for office in Texas, so he could do it on his own, but he was kind of enough to let the old guy show up."
Q: George P. Bush, does your dad help you connect with voters?
GEORGE P. BUSH: "I obviously love my family, and my Dad's public service adds a lot of value to our campaign. It's a huge shot in the arm to have somebody at the national level with us traveling throughout the state. But I ask the voters to analyze me based on my vision, my proposals for the agency."
Q: George P. Bush, what kind of role did your father play in helping develop policy positions?
GEORGE P. BUSH: "Dad was actually hugely impactful in approaching the issue. The No. 1 piece of advice is to study this agency and know it better than (any) of the 660 full-time employees that are currently working there."
JEB BUSH: "I found that in '98 when I ran and got elected and I ran on four or five things and the stuff I found really intriguing related to environmental policy, water policy — issues that weren't really top of mind as a candidate. But they were in my portfolio of responsibilities and they are for George as well. (Turning to George) If a hurricane comes, I now assume you know what to do."
Q: People are interested in the Bush family and how decisions are made. Did you sit down as a family and discuss this race?
GEORGE P. BUSH: "I would be remiss in not asking for their advice as it relates to public service and over the course of time in soliciting opinions and advice and of course with my beautiful wife here, because I wouldn't be able to offer myself to Texans without her and as my most important adviser. I just felt in my heart and on a personal level, it was time to serve."
JEB BUSH: "My only request — he didn't seek my advice on whether he runs or not — is that I write the first check. Mission accomplished."
Q: Gov. Bush, you've made no secret that you are at least considering making a run for president.
JEB BUSH: "You're about ready to get a 15-yard penalty and loss of down here. It's OK, but the flag's out."
Q: "Does George P's political career and an easy land commissioner victory, does that affect your decision?"
JEB BUSH: "I don't want to do anything that would make it harder for George to be successful in his pursuits, for sure. ... George comes from a family that has two presidents and a governor from another state. Those are complications in his life that he has dealt with, I think, with a lot of grace."
Q: Gov. Bush, it's frequently reported that your family has differing views on you mounting a presidential campaign.
JEB BUSH: "As it relates to my mom, my mom's been around the track ... she just believes that it's something that she doesn't want my family to go through, although she's changed her mind on that. So I'm marking her down to 'neutral, trending in a different direction' than she was. ... My wife is supportive, but that doesn't mean that I don't understand the challenges that this brings. This is ultimately my decision with as much consideration as I can to take into account the people that I really love."
Q: George P. Bush, are you an enthusiastic supporter of a White House bid for your dad?
GEORGE P. BUSH: "I said I would like to be helpful, but he knows that if I'm privileged to serve the state ... my focus has to be on this agency and getting ready for the next hurricane."