A ceremony last week in the Florida State House, honoring Jeb Bush’s service as governor, included a 15-minute presentation featuring images of the governor with Romney and another potential 2008 contender, former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. One photo depicted Romney and Jeb Bush with broad grins, standing together in Romney’s Boston office.
But the presentation was most notable for what it lacked: There was no photo of Jeb Bush with McCain. The absence of a McCain photo seemed to carry meaning. The presentation, with its implied signal of Jeb Bush’s preferences among the GOP presidential field, was played last week for the governor’s staffers and state lawmakers, many of whom are being courted by the 2008 contenders.
The presentation was produced by one of the governor’s longtime advisors, Sally Bradshaw, who is now a Romney strategist. Bradshaw is so close to Jeb Bush that it is unlikely she would work for any of the 2008 candidates without his blessing. In an interview, Bradshaw said that Jeb Bush only “encouraged me” to meet with Romney, insisting that the Florida governor is not trying to indicate a favorite in the race.