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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

George W. Bush says voters will eventually look to experience of 'fierce competitor' Jeb



George W. Bush today called his younger brother a “fierce competitor” and said voters will eventually look to his experience.

“He knows how to manage an administration. I happen to believe eventually the American people will say, ‘Who had the experience necessary to be president? Who’s run a state for example?' ”

The former president appeared at a donor event alongside the would-be president in Houston, where they grew up. About 175 people attended, according to a pool report from Beth Reinhard of the Wall Street Journal.

Other nuggets:

On the Hispanic vote

“Jeb is going to win the Latino vote, which is essential to winning. … I hope Republicans take a look at who has the capability of winning the Latino vote. I worked hard here in Texas on the Latino vote by showing respect … my language was not one of alienation but one of unity.”

Growing up

W joked about his mother never cooking a mean unless that meant putting hotdogs in a pot of water. Jeb: “I remember it differently.” W: “Yeah you’re running for office.”


“Most challenging of course is when we got attacked and lost 3,000 people in a day.” Says he was in Florida talking about education with Jeb. “Of course he’s a pioneer in education reform and I was assuring him we weren’t going to get in the way…next thing I know we’re attacked… this is where experience matters. It is instructive to have gone through crises. … I was waiting for the appropriate moment to leave the classroom…the second lesson of a crisis is that you have to say something to reassure the people that are following you. I walked into this classroom  of parents who had not gotten the news and said, ‘we’re under attack and we’ll deal with it. I became a wartime president. … It’s the unexpected that really challenges an administration. A fundamental question is, ‘will that person be confident or competent enough….I am absolutely certain given his background and his steadiness that he’d be able to deal with the unexpected.”

Jeb: “The case study in leadership is how George responded on 911, over and out. … To create a new narrative on how he led is a joke. It reflects a lack of seriousness.” He called W’s response “awe inspiring. Kids were crying all around. Children and grandchildren didn’t know what was going on… you had president that was steady and sure and strong. It wasn’t blah blah blah blah.”

On faith

W: “It’s important for faith to create humility and not the arrogance of certainty… I used to go to church so I wouldn’t make mother mad.” Jeb: “It didn’t work.”  LAUGHTER. George: “Mother and dad did me a favor and exposed me to religion but I didn’t become religious until it became apparent that I needed to quit drinking. ... It was very helpful during the presidency to believe in a higher power. I can’t prove it to you. I can just tell you it helped. We’re a faithful country.

Jeb on Rubio (never mentioned by name)

 “I vetoed a couple projects for one of the presidential candidates. We had a process. It wasn’t personal."

Among those in audience: Jorge L. Arrizurieta, Will Weatherford, Al Cardenas, Tom Feeney, Jack Oliver. Justin Sayfie, Ana Navarro and Eric Cantor.

[Last modified: Tuesday, October 27, 2015 12:38am]


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