‘I will run to win’ pres­i­dency: Jeb Bush


Jeb Bush jumped head­long into the pres­i­den­tial race Mon­day, in­sist­ing “Amer­ica de­serves bet­ter” af­ter eight years of Barack Obama, as the Repub­li­can seeks to win over vot­ers skep­ti­cal of his po­lit­i­cal pedi­gree.

Fol­low­ing a six- month pre­can­di­dacy ex­plo­ration, Bush made his for­mal an­nounce­ment at Mi­ami Dade Col­lege, a di­verse univer­sity cho­sen to sig­nal that he aims to run an in­clu­sive 2016 cam­paign.

“I have de­cided. I am a can­di­date for pres­i­dent of the United States,” he said.

While he is the son and brother of two for­mer pres­i­dents, Bush high­lighted his own po­lit­i­cal vi­sion and his two terms as gover­nor of Florida.

“We made Florida num­ber one in job cre­ation and num­ber one in small busi­ness cre­ation,” Bush said, boast­ing that he slashed taxes by US$19 bil­lion.

“I know we can fix cause I’ve done it.”

Bush also stressed he would cam­paign ev­ery­where and face the is­sues, rather than rely on his record from a decade ago and his fam­ily name as he seeks the nom­i­na­tion now sought by 11 Repub­li­cans.

“It’s no­body’s turn. It’s ev­ery­body’s test — and it’s wide open,” he said.

“I will take noth­ing and no one for granted. I will run with heart. I will run to win.”

He also stressed that as pres­i­dent he would take Washington “out of the busi­ness of caus­ing prob­lems.”

The phras­ing marked a jab at the four U.S. sen­a­tors in the race — Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Lind­sey Graham and fel­low Florida con­ser­va­tive Marco Ru­bio — and sug­gested Amer­i­cans should seek an out­sider with ex­ec­u­tive ex­pe­ri­ence.

Bush, 62, has been run­ning a de facto cam­paign for months, rais­ing mil­lions of dol­lars and boost­ing his in­ter­na­tional pro­file with a trip last week to Europe.

Fol­low­ing his speech in Mi­ami, he will set about try­ing to prove that, although he comes from a po­lit­i­cal dy­nasty, he is his own man.

While he high­lighted his own

this. Be- record, he knocked the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion for what he called the “phone-it-in for­eign pol­icy, the Obama- Clin­ton- Kerry team (that) is leav­ing a legacy of crises un­con­tained, vi­o­lence un­op­posed, en­e­mies un­named, friends un­de­fended, and al­liances un­rav­el­ing.”

“You and I know that Amer­ica de­serves bet­ter,” he said.

Over­com­ing ‘W.’ Legacy

Hil­lary Clin­ton is the fron­trun­ner on the Demo­cratic side, with no cur­rent close com­pe­ti­tion.

Na­tion­ally, Bush is bunched at the top of most Repub­li­can polls, but he is not the dom­i­nant fig­ure many had ex­pected.

He fin­ished a dispir­it­ing sev­enth last month in an Iowa poll, but dis­misses his strug­gles to break free of the pack.

He waded into a quag­mire last month when he re­peat­edly stum­bled over whether he would have au­tho­rized an in­va­sion of Iraq.

The hic­cups high­lighted what will likely be one of the can­di­date’s main chal­lenges: over­com­ing the legacy of his brother Ge­orge W. Bush, his un­pop­u­lar Iraq pol­icy and a sec­ond term that ended eco­nomic tur­moil.

“We’ve al­ready seen what a Bush econ­omy looks like,” Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee chair Deb­bie Wasser­man Schultz said. “Jeb would dou­ble down.”

Some vot­ers are less crit­i­cal of the fam­ily name.

“To me the last name brings a lot of re­spect,” Car­los Mu­si­vay, an en­tre­pre­neur at Bush’s launch, told AFP.

“It also brings the chal­lenges of his brother, but we have to look at Jeb for Jeb,” he added. “He’s his own per­son. When he was gover­nor, it wasn’t Ge­orge W. run­ning Florida.”

Grass­roots con­ser­va­tives have ex­pressed skep­ti­cism, say­ing Bush has not put for­ward a com­pelling mes­sage since leav­ing the gov­er­nor­ship eight years ago.

His sup­port for com­pre­hen­sive immigration re­form places him to the left of vir­tu­ally all Repub­li­can can­di­dates on the is­sue, and his back­ing of na­tional ed­u­ca­tion stan­dards is loathed by the far­right.

With many con­ser­va­tive pri­mary vot­ers de­mand­ing ide­o­log­i­cal pu­rity, Bush has a tricky path to the nom­i­na­tion.

He will seek to avoid get­ting tarred with the dreaded “mod­er­ate” la­bel when cam­paign­ing be­fore con­ser­va­tives, but Bush was clearly cast­ing a wide net in his rally, which held a de­cid­edly Latin fla­vor.

Sev­eral speak­ers broke into Span­ish, in­clud­ing Bush him­self, who is flu­ent in the lan­guage.

While it was a po­tent lure for His­panic vot­ers, Bush’s speech was in­ter­rupted by immigration re­form protesters. But he was pre­pared with a re­tort.

“The next pres­i­dent of the United States will pass mean­ing­ful immigration re­form,” he boomed.


For­mer Florida Gov. Jeb Bush takes the stage as he for­mally joins the race for pres­i­dent with a speech at Mi­ami Dade Col­lege in Mi­ami, Mon­day, June 15.

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