By Tessa Berenson
December 2, 2015

Jeb Bush made a point Tuesday night to refer to his as yet unnamed potential Vice President pick as woman.

“Should I be elected president, I would have my vice president — I think she will be a great partner,” the former Florida governor said, during an appearance in Waterloo, Iowa.

It seemed to be an intentional feint at a slip of the tongue. “I mean, did I say that out loud?” Bush immediately joked.

“We always talk about this with one gender in mind,” he continued. “I think we’ve reached the point I think in our country where maybe we should be a little less gender-specific about this. He or she should be an integral part of the team. And frankly, the one important element of selecting a vice presidential candidate is whether he or she is qualified to be president. Everything else is secondary.”

Bush is currently struggling in the middle of the field in Iowa, and the state’s caucuses are scheduled for February 1. Several Republican women are potential 2016 vice presidential candidates, including South Carolina Gov. Nicki Haley, New Mexico Gov. Susanna Martinez and New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte.

Write to Tessa Berenson at tessa.berenson@timeinc.com.

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