Jeb Bush Named His Dog After His Brother (No, Not That One)


Marvin the dog

From a 1998 Jeb Bush Campaign Ad C-Span

When it comes to naming new family members, the Bush dynasty isn’t particularly creative. There are at least three Georges, two Barbaras, and a couple of Prescotts in the family. Apparently this sort of limited imagination also applies to John Ellis “Jeb” Bush (father to a George Prescott and another John Ellis Jr.). When he was given a black Labrador a year before winning his first election as Florida governor, in 1998, Jeb opted to call the dog Marvin, after his least-famous little brother. (Perhaps this was revenge for Marvin’s role in ensuring there is only one surviving photo from Jeb’s 1974 wedding. As the official wedding photographer, Marvin accidentally loaded his camera with film previously used at a Frank Zappa concert.)

Marvin the dog made several appearances in Bush campaign ads, and at one point even had his own chat room (remember those?) on Jeb’s campaign website when he was running for governor. But Marvin wasn’t always as cooperative as the Bush children, who also featured prominently. As Bush explained in a recent Washington Post story about his former campaign advisor Mike Murphy:

“We were doing a family bio ad, the family was having a picnic, along with our beloved dog Marvin. Marvin didn’t follow the script and jumped on the table and destroyed the neatly staged picnic.” Bush said Murphy “turned lemons into lemonade” and created “a real and funny” spot, “one of the better ads of its kind I’ve seen.”

Here’s the full ad:

Poor Marvin isn’t around for any cameos in Jeb’s presidential campaign. He expired in 2006 at the age of 11, just two days before Bush signed into law “doggie dining” legislation, allowing canines in Florida restaurants. “Now, man’s best friend can enjoy Florida’s fine dining too,” Bush said at the time. Judging from his picnic performance, Marvin might have relished the opportunity more than most.

Contributing GIFing by AJ Vicens

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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