WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Sunday likened political reporters to "crack addicts" and "heroin addicts" during a tour of morning talk shows that drew repeated questions about the still-distant 2016 presidential election.
Bush, capping a media-heavy week that sparked chatter about a presidential campaign for a third member of his family, tried to keep the conversation focused on his book "Immigration Wars." But as Bush wrapped up a conversation with NBC's David Gregory," he likened journalists and their questions about the 2016 campaign to drug addicts.
"Who's the hottest Florida politician right now? Is it you or Marco Rubio?" Gregory asked, referring to Rubio, a senator who is also a potential GOP contender. "Who are we more likely to see in the White House?"
"Man, you guys are crack addicts. You really are obsessed with all this politics," Bush replied.
The "Meet the Press" host interrupted, saying he'd been called a lot of things, but never a crack addict.
"OK, heroin addict. Is that better?" shot back Bush, the son of former President George H.W. Bush and brother of former President George W. Bush.
"We've got big challenges, and Marco Rubio, to his credit, is working on those. And he deserves a lot of credit for it, and I'm very proud of him," Jeb Bush said of his potential rival.
After Bush left the Florida governor's office in 2007, some urged him to jump into the 2012 race against President Barack Obama. But his brother's low approval ratings could have dragged him down, and there seemed little interest in a national campaign.
But with Republicans looking for a new message and messenger, Jeb Bush is signaling he's open to the possibility.
"I'm not saying yes. I'm just not saying no," Bush told NBC News last week.
Speaking Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union," Bush said, "When you asked me before 2012 — Was I going to run in 2012? — and I said no, I went through the process and decided it wasn't appropriate."
"Now, I've decided to defer any consideration of it until the proper time to make those kind of considerations, which is out, you know, more than a year from now, for sure," he said.