Former President George H.W. Bush is bucking his party's presidential nominee and plans to vote for Hillary Clinton in November, according to a member of another famous political family, the Kennedys.This came with a non-denial denial:
... [Bush's] preference for the wife of his own successor, President Bill Clinton, nonetheless became known to a wider audience thanks to Kathleen Hartington Kennedy Townsend, the former Maryland lieutenant governor and daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy.
On Monday, Townsend posted a picture on her Facebook page shaking hands next to the former president and this caption: "The President told me he’s voting for Hillary!!”
In a telephone interview, Townsend said she met with the former president in Maine earlier today, where she said he made his preference known that he was voting for a Democrat. “That’s what he said,” she told POLITICO.
Jim McGrath, a spokesman for Bush, did not confirm nor deny the claim.I don't think I've said it here, but I've been assuming that some Bush or other would ultimately endorse Clinton. I thought it might be Jeb, even though he's said on more than one occasion that he'll vote for neither Clinton nor Donald Trump. Will he change his mind, despite the fact that his kind words for Clinton in 2013 while he gave her a public service award was used against him in the primaries? Or will he stick to his position, in the hope of winning another election someday, or in the hope that he won't hurt the political career of his son George P., the Texas land commissioner and near-certain future candidate for governor, senator, or president, who's fallen in line behind Trump?
"The vote President Bush will cast as a private citizen in some 50 days will be just that: a private vote cast in some 50 days," McGrath told CNN. "He is not commenting on the presidential race in the interim."
I understood why Clinton sought Republican support just after the convention -- moderate suburban GOP voters, especially women, seemed to be persuadable. It seemed to work -- there was much talk about Clinton's success in, say, the Philadelphia suburbs, and overall among college-educated whites. When no Bushes were among her endorsers, I assumed that the plan was to save a Bush endorsement for later -- and that may be correct.
I don't think this just slipped out -- the story seems impeccably choreographed (the reveal through a third party, the hedged statement from the spokesman), so I'm guessing it's been in the planning stages for a while.
But I wonder if the GOP outreach has hit the limit of its usefulness for Clinton. Now we see her reaching out to millennial fans of Bernie Sanders -- does it occur to her that her ardent courting of Republicans reinforced their sense that she's not for them? I think the GOP effort was worth it, but I think Clinton needs to deemphasize it now and work at winning back voters who should be solid Democrats. Nevertheless, I'm anticipating an October Jeb Bush surprise, for better or worse.