Bob Schieffer interviewed Jeb Bush on his last episode moderating CBS’ Face The Nation, and the retiring host asked Bush about violating campaign finance laws and called him out when he suggested that he wasn’t sure if he was going to run for president.
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 PAC, in addition to making all the traditional campaign stops everywhere.
Watchdog groups and some of your opponents are saying you’re really maybe violating campaign laws, and that the attorney general ought to be investigating, because they point out that you can’t raise money and coordinate strategy with these super PACs. 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 here?
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 complete — completely adhere to the law, for her.
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 will be no coordination at all with any super PAC.
SCHIEFFER: Now, you’re not telling me that there’s a possibility you may not run?
BUSH: Look, I hope I — I hope I run, to be honest with you. I would like to run. But I haven’t made the decision.
SCHIEFFER: Well, what would have to happen between now and then to convince you not to run?
BUSH: Who knows. Who knows. I have learned not to answer a lot of hypothetical questions.
SCHIEFFER: You’re probably going to run.
Notice that Jeb Bush phrased his answer in the future tense. Bush is breaking campaign finance laws right now, but he cleverly tried to dodge the issue by claiming that he would never do that, even though he is already doing it.
Bob Schieffer deserves credit for bringing up the topic and asking Bush the question. Schieffer has been the biggest and the only mainstream member of the press to ask Jeb Bush about his fundraising. Schieffer also did Bush no favors when he all but declared that Bush is already a candidate for president.
Sunday was Bob Schieffer’s last day as the host of Face The Nation. The long-time CBS newsman is going into retirement. By applying a little common sense to the discussion, Schieffer showed why Jeb Bush’s illegal fundraising is a house of implausible cards. Face The Nation has been at the top of the Sunday show ratings mostly because of Schieffer. His style was the perfect complement to CBS Sunday Morning.
Bob Schieffer went out with a bang in his own folksy way. He called B.S. on Jeb Bush and opened the door for more questions to be asked about Bush’s illegal fundraising operation.