As Hillary Clinton hints at the potential of including former Democratic presidents in her administration, don’t expect to see the same from Jeb Bush, even if they’re his relatives.
At the former Florida governor’s final town hall before the Iowa caucuses on Monday night, a member of the audience asked Bush if he would pick either his father or brother — former presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush, respectively — to positions in his administration. On the campaign trail, Clinton has emphasized the role her husband, former president Bill Clinton, would play in her White House, and has teased that she many nominate Barack Obama to the Supreme Court.
Bush, at his campaign stop in Des Moines, was quick to respond to the Supreme Court suggestion.
“No — my brother’s not a lawyer,” he joked.
He called Clinton’s suggestions to include popular former presidents like her husband and Obama is “a massive pander” to caucus-goers.
“Give me a break,” he said. “Guess who’s the most popular Republican alive today: George W. Bush.”
Bush’s brother has served as an occasional surrogate and fundraiser on the campaign trail, but in a limited role compared to Clinton and her husband. While Bush has said he is proud of his family’s legacy, he has also built his campaign around distinguishing himself and distancing his policies from those of his dad and brother.
Nonetheless, Bush said he would seek the advice of former presidents from both parties and would refrain from blaming his predecessor for what he inherited.
“The minute I put my hand on the Bible and become sworn in as President of the United States, it’s on me,” he said to cheers.
In the Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll released the weekend before the caucus, Bush received 2 percent support despite his super PAC spending nearly $15 million in the Hawkeye state. Bush will not spend caucus night in Iowa, but instead departed for New Hampshire, the next state in the race for the nomination, in the afternoon.