By Peter J. Smith

TALLAHASEE, Florida, July 28, 2010 ( – Pro-life former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida has again dismissed the possibility that he would run for president on the Republican ticket in 2012,

Bush told a WHAS11 News reporter in Kentucky that he is “not running for President,” quashing speculation that the pro-life leader with strong ties to the Latino community, would extend the Bush political dynasty. Gov. Bush’s father, George H.W. Bush, and brother George W. Bush, both served as U.S. Presidents.

GOP leaders have been looking for a candidate that would best maximize their political advantage in seizing the presidency in the 2012 election from sitting pro-abortion President Barack Obama.

Besides Bush’s strong pro-life credentials, he is a Catholic, married to a Mexican-American wife, and speaks Spanish: qualities which could appeal strongly to the country’s growing Hispanic minority.

But Bush’s chief disadvantage, GOP strategists concede, is his name; the American public may be wary of sending a third Bush to the White House. That may be one of the reasons that Bush scrapped an exploratory run for Florida’s U.S. Senate race, which is being fought three-ways between pro-life conservative Marco Rubio for the GOP, Gov. Charlie Crist, who scrapped both GOP and pro-life labels to run as an independent, and the winner of the Democrat primary. Currently pro-abortion Democrat Rep. Kendrick Meek is involved in a bitter primary fight with Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene, also pro-abortion. Their primary is Aug. 24. 

Other potential GOP contenders for U.S. president are Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. All three have pro-life credentials to one degree or another. Pawlenty has announced he will run in 2012, while Palin, who enjoys rock-star status among the GOP’s conservative base, has not yet made a definite announcement on a presidential run.

The Wall Street Journal’s blog Washington Wire says that GOP leaders may be looking to Bush as a figure who could step in and unify the different elements of the GOP under a single candidate, should none of the other GOP contenders capture the public’s imagination.

However, Bush told the Wire Tuesday that he has been consistent in saying he does not want the U.S. presidency and does not know why his name keeps popping up, since he has not been pursuing office and “answer[s] the question the same way every time.”

In the meantime, Bush has made appearances at Republican events, and in Kentucky headlined a fundraiser on behalf of Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul. He also spoke in Louisville about education reform at the National Conference of State Legislatures.