Barbara Bush’s PR Gift to Hilary?

 Barbara Bushs PR Gift to Hilary?

THE PR VERDICT: “B” for Barbara Bush and her off script comment.

Three generations of Bush women were interviewed last week on the Today Show to coincide with the launch of the Bush Presidential Library. When host Matt Lauer asked if Jeb Bush, son of George H.W., younger brother of George W., should run for president in 2016, one might almost think it was a rhetorical question. One might also nearly fall off one’s couch at the answer from Bush matriarch Barbara, Jeb’s mother: “There are other people out there that are very qualified, and we’ve had enough Bushes,” she said. Laura Bush, Dubya’s wife, and her daughters could only look a little startled.

The sound bite reverberated around newsrooms, and the headlines read NO MORE BUSHES, making Barbara Bush sound more like a protester than a former First Lady. Her reason for the nay say? While she described son Jeb as one of the best qualified men to do the job, she was concerned he would  “get half of our friends and all of our enemies” working against him.

Was this a PR gift to the Democrats? Not necessarily. Whatever damages the Bush camp sustained, the Hillary Clinton camp might have been equally vexed. Babs Bush went on to opine that the presidential field had to be opened up to other contenders. “I think it’s a great country, there are a lot of great families, and it’s not just four families or whatever.” What was looking like great fodder for those opposing Jeb Bush (even his mother says no!) now had a sting in the tail. Clinton’s PR gift had just as quickly been taken away.

THE PR VERDICT: “B” for Barbara Bush and her off script comment. Going off message was mitigated by also robbing her opponents, the Clintons, of the same.

THE PR TAKEAWAY: PR gifts are rarely free. With the rest of the family being supportive of Jeb’s possible run, Barbara Bush’s comments were presumably a spanner in the works. But Hillary Clinton and political strategists hoping to make capital will have been disappointed. Babs Bush’s comments could equally become the rallying cry for opponents to another Clinton presidency. This political gift might be one the Democrats may ultimately have to pass on.


The PRV Report Card: This Week’s Winners and Losers

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners and LosersPR WINNER OF THE WEEK: “A” (PR Perfect) to French authorities for pursuing criminal charges against those responsible for last year’s topless photos of Kate Middleton. The photos, which not only infuriated the Royals but also privacy advocates, were taken from afar, then published in French magazine Closer, owned by Mondadori, and eventually in several other European publications. If convicted, Mondadori CEO Ernesto Mauri and the as-yet-unnamed photographer could spend up to a year in jail, be forced to cease business for five years, and/or face a fine of 45,000 euros. Yes, this may be a little over the top, but given the long term abuses of the tabloids (as seen in the hacking scandals in the UK), the charges send an unmistakable message: Invasions of privacy will not be tolerated ici.

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners and LosersPR LOSER OF THE WEEK: “F” (FULL FIASCO) to KPMG Chairman Michael Andrew, who told the Financial Times that a recent insider-trading scandal involving a former partner was a ”one-day wonder” that generated coverage only because it was a “slow news week.” We love keeping calm and carrying on, but in cases like this, too much sang-froid just looks downright careless. If JP Morgan regrets CEO Jamie Dimon’s comments about a “tempest in a teacup” regarding the $6 billion London Whale trading loss, then Andrew’s equally cavalier comments may end up haunting him. In the new age of corporate contrition, this was a misstep. Both clients and staff must have been wondering: What was he thinking?

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners and LosersTHE PRV “THERE’S NO ‘THERE’ THERE” AWARD TO the George W. Bush Library dedication ceremony. Timing is everything, and whether this was a good week or a bad one to dedicate the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum was debatable. The event was a patriotic photo op for sure, with all five living presidents – Bush father and son, Carter, Clinton, and Obama – there to open the center. But the same event was candy for detractors, who pondered whether the Bush legacy of war and financial foundation for the recession was grounds for commemoration, and if a library was really the most apt choice for Dubya. Considering the past two weeks of North Korean missiles at the ready, ricin-laced letters to politicians, and a terrorist attack in Boston, this celebratory move seemed somewhat oddly timed.