In his last day hosting CBS News' Face the Nation, Bob Schieffer pressed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on his will-he-or-won't-he status as an undeclared presidential candidate who's already raising tens of millions of dollars and campaigning across the country. His unofficial candidacy has drawn a stream of complaints from watchdog groups.
Bush insisted he has yet to make a final decision on his 2016 Republican candidacy but acknowledged one is coming soon, likely after his June trip to Germany, Poland and Estonia.
"I hope I'm a candidate in the near future," Bush said in the interview, taped Saturday in Nashville.
Here's a transcript of their exchange, as provided by CBS News.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Governor, let's talk a little bit about politics. It's pretty obvious that you're running for president. You're going around the country, you're raising huge amounts of money for your super P.A.C., in addition to making all the traditional campaign stops everywhere. Watchdog groups and some of your opponents are saying you really may be violating campaign laws, and that the attorney general ought to be investigating. Because they, they point out that you can't raise money and coordinate strategy with these super P.A.C.'s. And once you declare as a candidate, you can't do that anymore. Do you think, in some way, you may be just at least violating the spirit of the law? Do you feel that you have violated the law?
JEB BUSH: No, of course not. I would never do that. And I'm nearing the end of this journey of traveling and listening to people, garnering, trying to get a sense of whether my candidacy would be viable or not. We're going to completely adhere to the law, for sure. Look, politics is politics. There's always people that are going to be carping on the sidelines. And should I be a candidate, and that will be in the relatively near future where that decision will be made, there'll be no coordination at all with any super P.A.C.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Now, you're not telling me that there's a possibility you may not run?
JEB BUSH: I, look, I hope, I hope I run, to be honest with you. I'd like to run, but I haven't made the decision.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, what would have to happen between now and then to convince you not to run?
JEB BUSH: Who knows. Who knows. I've learned not to answer a lot of hypothetical questions.
BOB SCHIEFFER: You're probably going to run.
JEB BUSH: I hope so. I hope, I hope I'm a candidate in the near future.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me just ask you this…
JEB BUSH: And if I am a candidate, by the way, I'll have a chance to talk about my record, share my heart, and offer ideas that will give people a sense that their future might be brighter than what we have today.