As TIME magazine's Joe Klein puts it, "Jeb Bush isn't not running for President." Ostensibly it's the publication of his new book on immigration that got him booked on seemingly ever network and cable news show on Verizon in the last week, but unlike 2008 and 2012, the former Florida Governor is not closing the door on running for the Republican nomination in 2016.
After making headlines last week for flip-flopping on believing that undocumented immigrants should be granted a path to citizenship (his new book argues for legalization), the buzz on Friday was that Jeb would do the "full Ginsberg" and appear on all five major Sunday shows - which he did, but only after coming on each show towards the second half.
One theory about why Bush opted not to run the last two election cycles was that after eight years of a George W. Bush administration, there was no appetite for another one in the White House. On Fox News Sunday, Bush dismissed the notion that the last name "Bush" is toxic in some sectors of the country.
WALLACE: Let me ask you a couple of more questions, about the illogic of whether you would run in 2016. Some people say that, obviously, you are proud of your family and proud of their accomplishments. But the question is, would it be a political burden? I think it's fair to say that when your brother left the presidency, he was somewhat unpopular. We looked around, the most recent poll shows that 46 percent view him favorably, 49 percent view him unfavorably.
Do you think that there is any Bush baggage? Do you think that would be a problem?
BUSH: No, I don't think there's any Bush baggage at all. I love my brother. I'm proud of his accomplishments. I love my dad, I'm proud to be a Bush and if I run for president it is not because of something in my DNA that compels me to do it. It would be that it's the right thing to do for my family, that the conditions are right and that I have something to offer. If I don't run I have a blessed life. I can continue to do what I am doing now, work on education reform, and advocate the policies that I believe in and also, a little private life and that decision will happen as I said later on."
None of the shows went too heavily on the immigration flip-flop, since it's been pretty thoroughly examined, but instead asked other questions about his viability as a presidential candidate.
NBC's Meet The Press opted to begin their show with - wait for it - a half hour discussion on "Is Washington broken?," as if a variation of that tired conversation hasn't been a component of MTP and other Sunday shows for a couple of years now (though hats off on the diversity front to the producers for booking Hawaii Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu and half-Somoan elected to Congress).
Meanwhile on CNN, Bush said that he thought people would "respect" W.'s protecting the country and in going to war against Saddam Hussein. "But history will judge that in a more objective way than today."
Perhaps the most interesting thing that Bush has to say these days is that he's concerned about the growing income gap in this country that many progressives have written about.
"An opportunity society kind of agenda is what we need. Something that's more aspirational. A real focus on transformation of our education system..."
He also addressed the idea of running for president with CNN's Candy Crowley:
On MTP he said "We need to be offering a compelling alternative. An alternative that says that the lack of social mobility needs to be addressed, not by higher taxes and more government, but but giving people the tools to rise up and be successful."