MIAMI — Jeb Bush finally made it official.
More than six months after the former Florida governor announced his intention to explore whether to seek the Republican party’s nomination for president – and more since former first lady Barbara Bush declared that the country had “had enough Bushes” – the son of one president and the younger brother of another announced his bid for the nation’s highest office.
“We are 17 months from the time for choosing. The stakes for America’s future are about as great as they come,” Bush said in a speech Monday at Miami Dade College, a largely Latino state school chosen to highlight the former governor’s record on education and his potential appeal to minority voters. “You and I know that America deserves better.”
“The presidency should not be passed on from one liberal to the next,” Bush added. “So, here’s what it comes down to. Our country is on a very bad course. And the question is: What are we going to do about it?”
Setting himself up as a populist “fix-it” candidate with a proven track record, Bush told the crowd “I know we can fix this, because I’ve done it.”
“We made Florida number one in job creation and number one in small business creation. 1.3 million new jobs, 4.4% growth, higher family income, eight balanced budgets, and tax cuts eight years in a row that saved our people and businesses 19 billion dollars,” Bush said.
Promising 4% annual economic growth and 19 million new jobs, Bush said his goal as president would be “economic growth that makes a difference for hard-working men and women – who don’t need reminding that the economy is more than the stock market.”
Bush’s announcement comes on the heels of a campaign shakeup: He announced a new campaign manager, Danny Diaz, just one week before his first official campaign speech. Diaz is known as a hard-charging operative who isn’t afraid to hit back at opponents, a skill that’s seen as valuable against potential rivals like Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
Over the weekend, Bush released his campaign logo — “Jeb!” — essentially the same as the logo he used during his campaigns for governor of Florida, though this one does specify “2016.” It doesn’t include his last name, though the “b” in “Jeb” stands for “Bush,” as the acronym is actually his initials, John Ellis Bush.
But he was looking to put some distance between himself and his brother and father on Monday. Neither George W. Bush nor George H.W. Bush attended the announcement. Of the elder Bushes, only his mother, Barbara, who just turned 90, was in attendance. As he was speaking about his mother, protesters wearing shirts reading “Legal status is not enough!” interrupted the speech before being escorted out. Toward the beginning of Bush’s announcement, #NoMoreBushes also trended nationally on Twitter.