Jeb Bush in The Family, by Kitty Kelley


On Civil Rights: 1981: Left Houston based on prejudice against Mexican wife

Shortly after his father was sworn in as Vice President, Jeb moved his family out of Houston because the prejudice against his Mexican wife had become too hurtful. Columba also wanted to be closer to her mother and sister, so George H.W. loaned his son $20,000 to buy a house in Miami, where Jeb had helped his father campaign in the anti-Castro Cuban communities.

"That's when I caught the bug," Jeb said. "I learned how to deal with people. I learned how to overcome fear: fear of humiliation, fear of not doing as well as you want to do."

Within 2 years Jeb launched himself politically. Jeb was elected chairman of Dade County GOP. As someone who played country-club tennis and spoke fluent Spanish, he was uniquely situated to bridge the chasm between the Anglos and Cubans within the party. Each group viewed the other with veiled contempt but revered Ronald Reagan--so the 36 year old son of Reagan's Vice President was well and favorably received.

Source: The Family, by Kitty Kelley, p.404-405 Sep 14, 2004

On Crime: I'm a hang-'em-by-the-neck conservative

He told his father he wanted to run for the US Senate in 1986, but his father persuaded him to wait just as he was gearing up for his own presidential run. Now, George told his son that he needed him in Florida. Jeb, who idolized his father, knew that this was George's last and best chance to become President.

As chairman of Dade County GOP, Jeb frequently called his father for political favors, and in 1986 he asked George to come to Florida to campaign for Bob Martinez, the Republican candidate for governor.

Jeb's hard-right politics--"I'm a hang-'em-by-the-neck conservative"--and his vociferous support of the contras appealed to his father and boosted Jeb's popularity in the conservative, anti-Communist Hispanic community of Dade County. Jeb's access to fabulously wealthy Cubans made him invaluable to his father's political staff as they prepared their 1988 run for the Bush presidency.

Source: The Family, by Kitty Kelley, p.409 Sep 14, 2004

On Foreign Policy: 1990: Defended anti-Castro terrorist as patriot in exile

Jeb petitioned the Justice Department in 1990 on behalf of Orlando Bosch, who was in prison for having entered the US illegally. The anti-Castro terrorist, who was implicated in a car-bombing assassination and was notorious for having masterminded the bombing of a Cubana Airlines Flight in Oct. 1976, which killed all 73 on board.

At the time George H. W. Bush was CIA director. The US sanctioned terrorism against Cuba and routinely trained commandos to infiltrate the island. Jeb, who planned to run for governor of Florida, represented a rabid anti-Castro constituency, a voting bloc that held his father's anti-Castro actions at the CIA in the highest esteem. Jeb's public support for paroling Bosch further enhanced his standing in the Cuban community, which considered Bosch a patriot in exile and honored him for his murderous bombings around the globe. At this son's behest, George Bush intervened to obtain the release of the Cuban terrorist from prison and later granted Bosch US residency.

Source: The Family, by Kitty Kelley, p.407-408 Sep 14, 2004

On Principles & Values: 1967: Repeated the 9th grade at Andover Prep School

George Herbert Walker Bush, who was on the Andover Board of trustees from 1963 until 1979, had to intercede with the school on more than one occasion for his errant sons. Jeb was required to repeat the 9th grade when he entered Andover from the Kinkaid School in 1967. He later violated the zero-tolerance ban on alcohol and was suspended, but after his father's intercession he was allowed to stay on. When Jeb graduated in 1971, his father handed out the class diplomas.
Source: The Family, by Kitty Kelley, p.252 Sep 14, 2004

On Principles & Values: Married high school sweetheart, exchange student from Mexico

Jeb met Columba Garnica in Mexico in 1971, when he was an exchange student from Andover. He never dated anyone else, and he said he would not be happy until he married her, which he did in 1974 at the Catholic student center at the University of Texas. He was 21 and she was 20. He gave her a wedding ring that had belonged to Barbara's grandmother. He introduced Columba to his parents for the first time the day of the wedding.

"I'm not going to lie to you and say we were thrilled," Barbara told one writer. In fact, Barbara was so worried about her son's marriage to a Mexican that she sought advice from her friend the society columnist Ymelda (nee Chavez) Dixon: "I told Barbara, 'As long as the girl hangs a sign around her neck that says "Bush," she'll be fine."

Jeb, who spoke with his wife in fluent Spanish, was spared her further social discomfort in Houston when the Texas Commerce Bank transferred him to Venezuela in 1977 for two years to handle international loans.

Source: The Family, by Kitty Kelley, p.354-355 Sep 14, 2004

On War & Peace: 1972: considered conscientious objector status

In 1972 Jeb, then 18, had pulled a low lottery number in the draft--number 26--and he told his parents that he was thinking of becoming a conscientious objector. As Barbara Bush recounted in 1984, "George said, `Whatever you decide, I will do. I will back you 100%.'" But the family was spared its crisis. The draft for Vietnam ended one day before Jeb, who had already passed his physical, might have been called. When Jeb ran for governor of Florida years later, he disputed his mother's recollection.
Source: The Family, by Kitty Kelley, p.240 Sep 14, 2004

The above quotations are from The Family
The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty,

by Kitty Kelley.
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Page last updated: Jan 01, 2013