As Jeb Bush supporters get keyed up for a 2016 Republican presidential nomination, the potential candidate is already starting to stare down the skeletons slowing coming out of his closet.
One such story now gaining traction about Bush is the same as one that hit Mitt Romney’s campaign in 2012: Former classmates of Jeb are coming forward to say that he was a bully and one of the resident campus stoners while attending high school Phillips Academy in Andover in the late 1960s, according to a recent Boston Globe profile on the subject.
One of Bush’s classmates, Peter Tibbetts, told the Boston Globe that the two had connected over marijuana use, though he did note that Jeb was not the campus dealer by any means.
“The first time I really got stoned was in Jeb’s room. He had a portable stereo with removable speakers. He put on Steppenwolf for me… Please bear in mind that I was seeking the hash, it wasn’t as if he was a dealer; though he did suggest I take up cigarettes so that I could hold my hits better, after that 1st joint.”
As the Boston Globe noted, Bush has been candid about what he called “stupid” use of marijuana in his younger days. Jeb now opposes both recreational and medical legalization of the substance.
Another difference between young Bush and the current day man was an interest in politics. Phil Sylvester, who was Bush’s roommate at one point, told the Boston Globe that he found Jeb to be extremely apolitical despite his background, often totally disengaged from conversations about the Vietnam War or other current events. Sylvester says that Jeb’s apathy didn’t, however, extend to the way that he connected to his family’s power.
“The thing that really struck me about Jeb more than anyone I ever met, is he understood that he was from the world that really counted and the rest of us weren’t. It really was quite a waste of his time to engage us. This was kind of his family high school. There wasn’t anything he could do to be kicked out so he was relaxed about rules, doing the work. This was just his family’s place.”
The paper also sought comment from Bush about the accusations, to which he admitted that he had indeed engaged in controlled substance use while at the school. He didn’t, however, feel the same about the bullying — taking the same page from Mitt’s response and saying that it was much too long ago for him to remember something like that.
“I don’t believe that is true… It was 44 years ago and it is not possible for me to remember.”
Do you think Jeb Bush’s high school persona will affect a possible campaign?
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