Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s speech on Saturday to graduates of Grove City College in Pennsylvania may have been the first sign that he is developing an organization for a potential 2016 presidential run. His speech may have also given some hints about his political future.
“If you feel inspired to serve your fellow citizens, don’t let the ugliness of politics keep you from pursuing public office,” Bush, who has said he would only run if he could do so “joyfully,” said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “There’s always room for informed, engaged, passionate leaders at every level of government.”
The Times also reported that “in a sign of his seriousness and organization, talking points were recently distributed to people in Bush’s inner circle”:
The private memo, for use when reporters call, reads, “Of the top considerations he has mentioned, Governor Bush has said he wants to know: He can run a campaign joyfully, and bring optimism to the debate when the nation is increasingly pessimistic about politics and government and uncertain about the future. It’s in the best interests of his family.”
The memo seeks to tamp down speculation about Bush’s hectic schedule and fundraising (he’s done it all in the past) and whether he’ll base a decision on what other candidates do, calling him a “methodical, thoughtful person.”
Much like former President Bill Clinton during his wife’s 2008 Democratic presidential campaign, Bush may be unfamiliar and struggle with today’s media, which prominently features new media outlets and smartphones that were not there during his last campaign in 2002.
The Times also reported that Republicans, especially conservatives, are concerned about Bush’s full-throated embrace of amnesty and Common Core. Bush may have problems outside of the conservative base in a general election as well. A recent Washington Post poll found that a majority of Americans would not vote for him for president.