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Jeb Bush rules out presidential run -- for now

1. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush knocked down speculation -- again -- that he might consider a run for president in 2012 but left the door open to a national bid down the line in a Sunday night interview with CNN's Candy Crowley.

"I really have to stay focused on this goal of achieving some financial independence, financial security for my family," Bush said. Asked again later, Bush offered an almost verbatim response -- suggesting he was ready for the questions and not willing to make any new news.

He also ruled out the idea of serving as Republican National Committee chairman heading into the 2012 election.

But, ever the politician, Bush was careful not to close the door on a candidacy in the future; "You never say never about anything," he told Crowley.

Bush's latest denial came in a joint sitdown with his brother -- former President George W. Bush -- as the latter promotes his "Decision Points" memoir about his life in the White House.

The former president, for his part, acknowledge that he had "urged" his brother to take a look at running for the office he once held but added: "He's chosen not to run this time and I finally have to believe him."

There has long been speculation -- and longing -- within the party for a candidacy by the former Florida governor who spent most of the 1990s overseeing one of the nation's largest and most politically competitive states.

But, over the past few years that speculation has largely been put on hold as the "Bush" name has gone from political gold to dross in the eyes of most voters. Still, there remains a block of voters within the GOP who see the younger Bush as the complete -- and perhaps only -- package of policy and political know-how among potential Republican candidates.

Those people look like they will have to wait for another six years -- at least -- before Jeb Bush re-enters the political arena, however.

2. Republican Joe Miller said this weekend that he will not press forward with an aggressive effort during the ballot-counting process in the Alaska Senate race if he has no chance of winning, according to the Associated Press.

Since the election two weeks ago, it's been clear that Miller faces long odds against Sen. Lisa Murkowski's (R) write-in campaign. His comments this weekend suggest he might be resigned to his fate and could be looking out for his political future.

"Write-in candidates" led Miller by more than 11,000 votes before those ballots began being examined, and the vast majority of those write-in votes have thus far gone to Murkowski. Of nearly 100,000 write-in ballots, 15,000 remain to be counted. So far Murkowski has taken 97 percent of those votes, which has made her side very confident of victory.

3. Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (D) officially kicked off his bid for Chicago mayor over the weekend with a formal announcement Saturday and the release of his first TV ad, which goes on the air today.

"Chicago is a great city with great people, and I want children to feel as passionate about this city as I did growing up," Emanuel says in the ad. "We face big challenges, from our schools, our streets, to our businesses, where people can get a job. We have to make city government more accessible to everybody."

Emanuel closes by saying that the city is "at a crossroads: we've got to decide whether we're going to continue to be a great city or become a second-tier city." The ad is part of a $750,000 buy, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The field to replace retiring Mayor Richard M. Daley became more crowded over the weekend as Emanuel and several other contenders officially announced their bids.

Rep. Danny Davis (D), who last week won re-election to an eighth term and earlier this month was tapped by a coalition of black leaders as their preferred candidate in the mayor's race, launched his candidacy on Sunday. "I will be the mayor for all of Chicago," Davis told supporters at a downtown Chicago hotel. "I will be the mayor for every racial and ethnic group, reaching out to all will be the benchmark of a Danny Davis administration."

State Sen. James Meeks (D) and former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun (D) are also expected to jump into the race. Candidates who have already announced bids include City Clerk Miguel del Valle (D) and former Chicago Board of Education President Gery Chico (D).

White House senior adviser David Axelrod said on Sunday that President Obama has not yet decided whether he'll campaign for Emanuel. "Whether he involves himself actively in this campaign, I think, is a matter that we haven't yet decided, but I think his view of Rahm is very clear," Axelrod said in an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press".

Candidates must submit 12,500 signatures on nominating petitions by Nov. 22 in order to qualify for the ballot. The election is Feb. 22, 2011; if no candidate wins a majority, the race will go to a runoff on April 5.

4. The long-anticipated trial of New York Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel kicks off this morning, with the embattled 20-term congressman and former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee facing 13 counts of violating congressional ethics rules.

Rangel is expected to represent himself at the trial, which could last until the end of the week. The counts he faces range from using official stationery to raise money for a New York academic center named after him to failing to properly disclose his assets and pay taxes on income from rental property.

Despite the cloud hanging over him since a House subcommittee announced in July that he had violated ethics rules -- as well as his rambling speech in August defending himself on the House floor-- Rangel has remained politically resilient. Earlier this month, he sailed to re-election with 80 percent of the vote, and in September, he easily beat back a crowded field of primary challengers to take the Democratic nomination for his seat with 51 percent of the vote.

If Rangel is found to have violated House ethics rules, the subcommittee that is hearing the case may decide to recommend to the full Ethics Committee that formal measures be taken against Rangel. The Ethics Committee could issue a report criticizing Rangel or recommend greater punishment, such as a formal reprimand or expulsion, which would then be taken up by the full House.

Another Democrat, Rep. Maxine Waters (Calif.), is slated to face an ethics trial on Nov. 29.

5. South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint said Sunday that he has no plans to run for president, but added that if he did, he wouldn't be too conservative.

Appearing on "Fox News Sunday", DeMint defended the profile he has built as a tea party leader and said it's not too far out of the political mainstream if he were to run for president.

"I don't think I'm far to the right at all," he said. "I think this election shows that my views of balancing the checkbook are not radical at all."

DeMint, as he has done before, denied that he is planning a presidential run, even as many see him positioning himself to run as a tea party candidate in the GOP primary. DeMint backed a slate of tea party candidates in Senate races.

"Right now, I have no plans to run for president," he said. "I'm looking for someone who will have the courage and leadership abilities to come out and make the hard decisions that we need to turn this country away from a cliff."

DeMint also said that he wants a permanent extension of all the Bush tax cuts but added that he thought President Obama would agree to a two- or three-year extension.

By Chris Cillizza  | November 15, 2010; 8:08 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Fix  
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