When Jeb Bush left office four years ago, his public appearances were as scarce as bi-partisan man hugs.
He didn't want to upstage his successor in the governor's mansion nor his brother in the White House. Instead, he quietly cashed in by joining corporate boards and an elite speakers bureau, penned public policy essays and gave infrequent interviews to conservative media outlets.
But in recent months, as the Republican Party of Florida has grappled with a leadership vacuum, Bush's political profile has grown as fast as the national deficit.
He headlined a fundraiser for Bill McCollum's gubernatorial campaign, starred in a YouTube video touting Jeff Atwater's campaign for state chief financial officer and helped install state Sen. John Thrasher as the state party's heir apparent -- all the while looming on the sidelines of the fierce Republican Senate primary between Gov. Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio.
The capper came Thursday when, at the top of the 7 o'clock hour, right after Vice President Joe Biden, Bush made a rare network television appearance on NBC's Today Show. The intensely private Bush's interview with the overly familiar Matt Lauer rattled Florida political circles.
Was this the beginning of a Jeb juggernaut that would culminate in a 2012 presidential bid?
Full column here.