Jeb Bush's head must be pounding from all the pondering he's doing these days. Yesterday, he told yet another GOP crowd that he hasn't ruled out a bid for the White House, this time eliciting an ovation by announcing he's "thinking about running for president."
He's probably also doing a lot of contemplating over how his opponents will slime him for all the shady business dealings he's gotten wrapped up in since leaving Tallahassee. As the New York Times detailed last weekend, Bush has left a long trail of unsavory deals behind him while working to build his fortune after leaving politics.
Bush's latest hint about his presidential ambitions came Wednesday at a Catholic Charities fundraiser in New York, where the "room went wild," according to Politico, after he left the door open to a campaign. (He also quipped, "Would you call and tell my mom?" in reference to Barbara Bush's belief that her family has had enough shots at running the nation already.)
But it's the Times' in-depth weekend piece that gives one of the best hints at why -- despite all the pressure from GOP financial backers alarmed by the power vacuum atop their ticket -- many experts still believe Bush won't throw his hat into the ring.
After his final term as Florida's governor, Jeb made no secret he wanted to expand his $1.3 million personal wealth. Doing so, however, has led him to some particularly slimy corners of the financial world while earning more than $3 million in board compensation.
Among the deals the Times dredged up were Jeb's work trying to pull in last-minute investors for the disgraced Lehman Brothers just before its epic collapse, and sitting on the board of Swisher Hygiene at the same time -- the firm later admitted -- that sketchy accounting was improperly inflating its earnings. (That work has earned Bush a spot on a number of lawsuits by burned investors.)
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
He also worked on the board of InnoVida, the Miami-based firm that was actually a $50 million scheme that earned owner Claudio Osorio 12 years in prison.
Other dealings are likely to spark political headaches, such as his work for Tenet Health Care at the same time the hospital giant was supporting the passage of Obamacare.
Jeb has promised to make a call one way or another on a presidential campaign by the end of this year.