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Curtains for Jeb?

by Jack McCarthy

CounterPunch correspondent in Tallahassee

From London to Chicago to Tallahassee the air shimmers with rumors that Florida Governor Jeb Bush will not run for re-election, supposed reason being a breach of the seventh commandment.

Last weekend the columnist Robert Novak raised Jeb’s hackles by writing that Republican sources in the state tell him that Bush most likely won’t run, due to “family troubles”.

When asked by Florida reporters about Novak’s column, Jeb snapped testily, “Bob Novak doesn’t know what he’s talking about”.

On Thursday Martin Kettle of the London Guardian reported the Same rumors.

Here in Tallahassee veteran columnist Bill Cotterell, unintentionally sent shock waves through the capital when he reported in his Thursday column that the state capital’s press corps and politicos are abuzz with rumors that, if true, could see a change in helmsmen for the sunshine state.

Indeed, a specter haunts Jeb Bush.

The specter, according to Cotterell, is an article soon to appear in the July issue of “Vanity Fair” written by VF writer David Margolick, by whom Cotterell himself had been interviewed.

Cotterell, a conservative whose column moniker is “Capitol Curmudgeon”, writes”

“The Capitol press corps is waiting with bait-like breath for the July issue of vanity Fair, which supposedly has the goods on ’em.”

Question: who is “em”.

Speculation in Tallahassee swirls around Jeb Bush and former Playboy bunny and Bush appointee, Cynthia Henderson.

Henderson, a well connected Tampa land use attorney, was first appointed by Bush in 1999 to head the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. She had a rocky tenure, including a lawsuit by a co-worker who alleged that Henderson choked him.

Last year heads turned when Henderson was reborn as agency head for Department of Management Services. As one co-worker said, “Jeb has gone out of his way to protect Cyndi.”

In an email interview Cotterell says that when he was interviewed several months ago by Margolick the topic of interest was Jeb Bush’s character.

“He asked me a lot of questions about Jeb Bush, his character generally. At the time, the ridiculous rumor was about Katherine Harris. This one hadn’t appeared yet.”

Among the stories flying around the capital is one of a late night confrontation at Henderson’s home, with an unannounced visit by Columba Bush “yelling and screaming”. A neighbor may have called the police.

The Florida Bushes are a spirited lot, with both of Jeb’s sons capturing headlines, one for a break-in to a former girlfriend’s bedroom, the other for having sex in his car i8n a public place. CP

Jack McCarthy is a writer in Tallahassee, Florida. He can be reached at

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