George W. Bush says Jeb run in 2016 is a toss-up.

George W. Bush Gives 50-50 Odds on Jeb Run for President in 2016

George W. Bush Gives 50-50 Odds on Jeb Run for President in 2016

The Slatest
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Nov. 9 2014 12:01 PM

George W. Bush Gives 50-50 Odds on Jeb Run for President in 2016

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Former President George W. Bush speaks at a conference on Aug. 6, 2014 in Washington, D.C.

Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images

Former President George W. Bush says it’s a toss-up whether his brother, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, will run for president in 2016. "It's a lot of speculation about him. I occasionally fuel the speculation by saying that I hope he runs," Bush told CBS News in an interview that aired on Sunday. "I think it's 50-50.” Two weeks after George P. Bush said his father will “more than likely” throw his hat in the ring in 2016, the former president says his brother is still wrestling with the decision.

“He and I are very close,” Bush said. “On the other hand, he's not here knocking on my door, you know, agonizing about the decision.” How a stint at the White House could affect his family appears to be one of the former governor’s main concerns when weighing a bid for the presidency. “He knows exactly—you know, the ramifications on family, for example,” the former president said. “He's seen his dad and his brother go through the presidency.”

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George W. Bush went on Face the Nation to promote 41, a book about his father. The former president says one of the things he admires about his father is how he was able to keep his obligations to his family even as president. “One of the lessons you learn from George H.W. Bush is that you can go into politics and still be a good father,” Bush said.

If Jeb Bush does decide to run, he can count on the support of his brother. "I'll do whatever he wants. I will be one of his strongest backers," Bush said. "If he wants me out there publicly, I'll be out there publicly. If he wants me behind the scenes, I'll be behind the scenes. You know, I'll—I’m all in for him.”

Separately, Bush also said he doesn’t regret invading Iraq, dismissing as “gossip” all the talk that he was only trying to finish what his father started. In retrospect, Bush said he was “surprised” to learn Saddam Hussein apparently didn’t believe him when he vowed to invade unless the Iraqi leader left the country and allowed international inspectors to do their work.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.