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Jeb Bush won’t rule out 2016 presidential bid

Speaking on NBC’s “The Today Show,” Bush was asked directly if he could rule out a bid in the next cycle.

“I won’t [rule it out] but I’m not going to declare today either,” Bush said. 

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“That’s way off into the future,” Bush added. “I have a voice and I want to share my beliefs about how the conservative movement and the Republican Party can regain its footing, because we’ve lost our way.”

Bush did not actively consider running in 2012, eventually endorsing GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

Bush weighed in on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) recent snub by a high-profile conservative conference. Christie, the most popular Republican in the country, according to polls, didn’t get invited to this month’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) because he criticized GOP leaders for inaction on a bill funding Hurricane Sandy relief.

“I’m a little surprised, but on the one hand he did get invited the year before and he’ll get invited next year when he gets reelected for sure,” Bush said. “I think there was some disappointment in how Gov. Christie dealt with the budget issues related to Sandy, trying to advocate his position, I can understand that.”

Bush said it had nothing to do with Christie embracing Obama as the president visited hurricane-ravaged parts of his state in the late stages of the 2012 election.

“I don’t think so, but I think the issue of castigating the House particularly for not going along with a $60 billion spending bill that had very little to do with Sandy recovery. And when it got down to funding Sandy House Republicans went along with that.”

Bush will be speaking at the conservative conference, where he will be joined by other prominent conservatives, including many top presidential aspirants. Among those speaking are Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R).

“Look, I love Christie,” Bush continued. “I think Gov. Christie is a part of the future of the Republican Party for sure.”