How Jeb Bush's Wife Could Help Win Him The White House

Jeb Bush’s secret weapon in his potential White House bid is his wife of 40 years, Columba Bush, supporters of the former Florida governor say.

Columba, who would be the nation’s first Hispanic first lady if her husband wins the presidency, largely eschewed the public spotlight in Florida and is known for having a shy public demeanor.

Before Bush (R) announced in December that he was exploring a bid for the White House, it was thought that Columba could even put the brakes on his national candidacy. 

Yet friends of the Bush family, and those who have worked closely with Jeb and Columba for decades, say that beneath her private persona lies a rock-solid interior. They argue she’s fully prepared to step into the pressure cooker that awaits if Jeb runs for president in 2016.

The Mexican-born immigrant has steeped Jeb in Hispanic culture. They speak Spanish at home, and Bush allies credit her with helping shape Jeb’s “act of love” message on immigration reform.

But some Republicans believe Jeb’s moderate tones on immigration reform are a conservative apostasy that will doom him, particularly in early-voting caucus and primary states like Iowa and South Carolina.

“In the primaries, the idea of a candidate talking immigration reform with a biracial family on the stump is going to be a big moment,” said GOP strategist Ford O’Connell. “She’s going to have to navigate it as well as Jeb does.”

“These moments, you never know when they’ll come, but they’ve come for all of the first ladies,” O’Connell added.

Read more from Jonathan Easley at The Hill

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