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For Jeb Bush, it’s Decompression Time

November 10, 1994 GMT

MIAMI (AP) _ Jeb Bush spent more than a year talking about what he would do as governor of Florida. He really wasn’t in the mood to talk about life as a private citizen.

″It’s over. I lost and I’ll go on to the next part of my life,″ the second son of the former president said Wednesday. ″There’s nothing I could tell you that would sound like anything but sour grapes.″

Then the 41-year-old Miami businessman hung up the phone and got in his car and drove down to the busy intersection where Gov. Lawton Chiles was greeting voters.

″I was just driving down U.S. 1 and I saw the crowd,″ Bush said to Chiles. They shook hands as Bush congratulated the 64-year-old governor, then left quickly.

Bush refused to answer questions.

″You don’t ask me anything,″ he told a throng of reporters. ″Talk to the governor.″ Bush, who has the genteel manner of his father, had pledged early in the race that he would campaign on the issues. But under a withering assault of negative ads about his business dealings and inexperience, Bush joined in the mudslinging in one of the nastiest Florida campaigns in recent memory.

The defeat was a shock for Bush and his supporters, who thought their get- out-the-vote operation would salvage a victory in the close race.

The Republican said in the phone interview that his top priority now is to ″stay with my family and decompress.″

″Whatever lessons there are will become clear over time,″ Bush said. ″I thought we were going to win.″

Bush, who left his commercial real estate partnership with Armando Codina to run for governor, said he’s made no decision on what he’ll do next or whether he’ll run for office again. But he was happy with the GOP’s success Tuesday, especially in Texas, where his brother George beat Gov. Ann Richards. ″I’m delighted with the Republican trend, especially about my brother,″ he said. ″It’s a question of time before we’re in control.″