Former First Lady Barbara Bush is jumping back into the political fray, redoubling her efforts to help her son, Jeb Bush, as he prepares to run for president.
The former Florida governor's mother raised eyebrows last year by suggesting in an interview that "we've had enough Bushes" run for president. Last month, she reversed course -- "I changed my mind!" -- as her son made one of his first public appearances after announcing he would explore his own presidential bid.
On Wednesday morning, she sent an e-mail to her son's supporters, reinforcing her support and announcing that she's launching a new fund to help his campaign.
"When the idea of Jeb running for President first came up, I was hesitant," she writes. "You may have heard about that. When you see the pounding candidates, their spouses, and even their children take, what mother wouldn't be?"
As he travels the country in anticipation of a formal campaign, Jeb Bush begins most of his speeches to potential supporters by recalling his family history -- and it usually begins with a reference to Barbara Bush.
On Wednesday morning in Myrtle Beach, he told a crowd that when he was born, "I didn't know at the time that I'd won the lottery in Midland, Texas. My little eyes opened up and there was Barbara Bush."
He added later that his parents are "the best mom and a dad that anybody could ever had. They taught me right and wrong, they taught me the habits of work, they taught me integrity and courage and all the virtues that lead to a successful life."
Barbara Bush's full e-mail to supporters:
When the idea of Jeb running for President first came up, I was hesitant. You may have heard about that. When you see the pounding candidates, their spouses, and even their children take, what mother wouldn't be?
But our problems are so profound that America needs a leader who can renew the promise of this great nation.
Which is why today I’m starting the Run Jeb Run fund.
And, [XXX], I’m asking if you can give $250, $100, $50 or whatever you can immediately.
I know that's a lot to ask, but Jeb is our best chance of taking back the White House in 2016, and I hope that you will join me in pushing him to run.
We need and appreciate your help, [XXX].
Thank you for your support and I look forward to counting you among our ranks.
Jeb Bush, asked at an event with local Republicans on Wednesday morning about the health of his parents, he gave one of his most expansive answers on the subject since he began traveling the country for his potential campaign last month.
"My dad is 90 years old, going on 91 and he can’t walk, but he’s still got great spirits and has a great mind still," he told the crowd.
"It’s hard to see him not being able to walk. But he’s still doing fine," he added. "And my mother is just amazing -- she’s 89 going on 90 and she's the caregiver. If anybody’s had this experience, you get stronger when your loved one is hurting. I see that. My mom has all these aches and pains being 89, but she never would let you know that."
Bush said his parents celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in January. "Apparently my dad, when he woke up on their anniversary, he said, 'Bar, it doesn’t feel like a day longer than 69 years that we’ve been married.'"
This story has been updated.