It's Official: Jeb's In

Jun 15, 2015

Jeb Bush speaking to supporters at Miami Dade College.
Credit Jeb! 2016

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush made it official Monday, throwing his hat into the ring for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.  Bush made his announcement at Miami Dade College.

Jeb Bush has been working toward Monday for a long time.  Last November he canvassed the country campaigning for Republican gubernatorial and legislative candidates.  More recently, he’s made himself conspicuous in early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire.  He founded a super-PAC called Right to Rise. 

“What we need is new leadership that takes conservative principles and applies them so that people can rise up,” Bush says in a video released on YouTube over the weekend.  “America’s best days are in front of us and we are going to lead the world.

He even released a new logo that looks an awful lot like the ones he’s used in every campaign since his first back in 1994: Jeb! 

On the stump Monday, Bush stresses his executive experience, and promised a stronger economy under his leadership.

“So many challenges could be overcome if we could just get this economy growing at full strength,” Bush says.  “There’s not a reason in the world why we cannot get this economy growing at four percent a year, and that will be my goal as president.”

He claims that growth rate would lead to 19 million new jobs.  Bush sketched out positions on foreign policy, defense, education, and he stood firm on a path to legal status for immigrants—a stance not all Republicans are happy about.  A group of immigration activists interrupted his speech at one point saying legal status is not enough.  They were shouted down by supporters.  But Bush jumped into the fray, taking the opportunity to attack the Obama administration.

“By the way, just so that our friends know,” Bush began over the chanting crowd, “the next president of the United States will pass meaningful immigration reform so that that will be solved—not by executive order.”

But some political observers say Bush has committed a number of unforced errors in recent months.  He hemmed and hawed about whether he would’ve ordered troops to Iraq, and just in the last week he replaced key members of his team.  But probably most distressing for the campaign has been its inability to dissuade challengers.  Instead of announcing his candidacy as the most dominant nominee in a small field, he’s the eleventh entry in a slate that only promises to grow.  He’s locked up big Republican endorsements in the state—eleven congressional representatives, and the entire cabinet less the governor.  But with his former protégé Marco Rubio on the ticket, the sense of inevitability the Bush camp likely hoped for is nowhere to be found.