The Bushes are back.
The former first family has been making a splash lately. George H.W. and Barbara Bush are throwing a bash, George W. Bush has been painting up a storm and Jeb Bush is being bandied about as a 2016 presidential hopeful. Given that the family might put forth another presidential candidate, all this publicity can't be a bad thing, right?
Let's take a look at what each has been up to.
1.) George H.W. and Barbara Bush
If you're looking for a hotel room in College Station, Tex., this weekend, you're out of luck. They're all filled with the famous (for D.C., anyway) who are in town for the 25th anniversary of Bush's presidency. The three-day event is being billed as "a weekend of events celebrating the historic achievements of George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the Untied States, and his administration." It will feature panels on Bush's foreign and domestic achievements (Robert Gates and Richard Haass discuss the end of the Cold War and Desert Storm, John Sununu and Sen. Tom Harkin will talk about things including the 1990 budget and the Clean Air Act). There will be Tex-Mex food and "entertainment" Friday night. Saturday is the big show: country singer Clay Walker will perform at a Texas barbecue. The Bushes took in the Houston Astros-New York Yankees baseball game earlier this week. The Bushes have also been power lunching, dining with New York Yankess shortstop Derek Jeter, former Yankee Roger Clemens and Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson at Clemens's son's Houston restaurant, Katch 22 (get it?)
2.) Jeb Bush
Perhaps the newsiest part of the weekend event will be a live interview with Jeb Bush on Fox's "America's News Headquarters." If the renewed focus on the Bushes will benefit anyone, it will be Jeb. The former governor of Florida is quietly exploring a 2016 presidential run, and he has been publicly playing the part of someone who is interested. Billionaire casino magnate and major Republican donor Sheldon Adelson held a VIP dinner for Bush in Las Vegas last week. Bush addressed the Republican Jewish Coalition's four-day Spring meeting, during which Bush and other prospective Republican candidates dined with and played golf with potential donors. Bush told reporters last month he will "make a decision later in the year," most believe after the Florida gubernatorial election. But a group of Bush supporters are already forming and hoping that Bush will run, even if it may be against Sen. Marco Rubio, his protege. "We are keeping our powder dry," Justin Sayfie, Bush's former communications director and chief speechwriter, told Fox News. Even Jeb's mom is getting in on the act. Barbara Bush had long said she doesn't want another member of her family running for president. But minds change. "Maybe it's OK," she said, if another Bush runs in 2016.
3.) George W. Bush
George W. Bush has mostly stayed out of the limelight. But he sat down for an interview on NBC's "Today" show that will air Friday morning. The interviewer? None other than another member of the family, daughter Jenna Bush Hager. George W. Bush is plugging an exhibit of his paintings that will appear at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. "The Art of Leadership: A President's Personal Diplomacy," will feature paintings of more than two dozen world leaders Bush knows. They include former British prime minister Tony Blair, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Dalai Lama. None, he said, have seen them. "“I think they’re going to be, wow, George Bush is a painter. I mean I’m sure when they heard I was painting them, if they had, they’re gonna say, well I look forward to seeing the stick figure he painted," Bush told his daughter. Bush said he hopes the leaders take the paintings in "the spirit in which these were painted, the spirit of friendship."