Barbara Bush stumps for Jeb in new video, letter appeal to voters

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks during a campaign stop Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks during a campaign stop Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016. AP

Former Gov. Jeb Bush, trailing badly in the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, unleashed a new weapon in hopes of righting his political ship: his mom.

Bush’s campaign Friday released a new web video in Iowa and New Hampshire featuring former first lady Barbara Bush praising the personal and political virtues of her son.

The ad coincides with a handwritten letter by the former first lady explaining why she believes her son is the leader that the country needs. The letter is already out in Iowa and will be released in New Hampshire and South Carolina soon.

In the video, Barbara Bush takes a veiled dig at Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump. “Rather than talking about how popular they are, how great they are,” Bush is running for president “because he sees a huge need and it’s not being filled by anyone,” she says.

“Of all the people running, he seems to be the one who can solve the problems,” she adds. “I think he’ll be a great president.”

Barbara Bush has never doubted that her son could make a great president. But she was initially cool on him running in 2016. In 2013, she told the “Today” show that “we’ve had enough Bushes” in the White House. She told C-SPAN in 2014 that “There’s no question in my mind that Jeb is the best-qualified person to run for president, but I hope he won’t.”

But she reconsidered her position by late 2014 and sent an email to Jeb Bush supporters in March 2015 saying that “our problems are so profound that America needs a leader who renew the promise of this great nation.”

William Douglas: 202-383-6026, @williamgdouglas