The Latest: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush enters 2016 race

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

MIAMI (AP) — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush entered the 2016 presidential campaign on Monday with a rally and speech at Miami Dade College, joining 10 other Republicans already in the race for the party’s nomination. Here’s the latest on what’s happening in the GOP race.


4:05 p.m. (EDT)

Jeb Bush says America is on a “very bad course” and that he has decided what he is going to do about it. In a speech Monday afternoon in Miami, the former Florida governor says, “I am a candidate for president of the United States.”

Bush gets into the race six months after saying he was considering a campaign. In his kickoff speech, he says Democrats are responsible for, quote, “the slowest economic recovery ever, the biggest debt increases ever, a massive tax increase on the middle class, the relentless buildup of the regulatory state, and the swift, mindless drawdown of a military that was generations in the making.”

Bush says he is “not eager to see what another four years would look like under that kind of leadership.”

The son and brother of former presidents, Bush is launching his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination at Miami Dade College.

He’ll travel later this week to early voting states of New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina for the first time as a White House candidate, and will appears as a guest on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”


3:15 p.m. (EDT)

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is joining a chorus of Republicans seeking changes to the plans for the party’s presidential primary debates, saying all candidates in the race should be treated equally.

The influential governor of the early voting state says Monday the debates should not be limited to “the people that are in the top tier on some national poll.”

Instead, Branstad suggests grouping the field of many as 20 contenders into two panels. He says, quote, “then the public gets to see all the candidates and you don’t limit it by who’s got the most money and that sort of thing.”

Branstad says he plans to reach out to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and Fox News President Roger Ailes to talk about the issue.

The first scheduled GOP debate is set for August 6. Fox News is the host, and the cable network plans to restrict it to the top 10 candidates based on polling average from recent national polls.

Last week, the network said candidates who do not qualify for the debate will be invited to participate in a forum to be aired the afternoon of the debate.


2:30 p.m. (EDT)

Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul says “some people have had enough Bushes and enough Clintons.”

The Kentucky senator is campaigning Monday in South Carolina as Jeb Bush gets ready to enter the 2016 presidential campaign with an afternoon speech in Miami.

Paul says in an interview with The Associated Press that he understands the political attention focused on Bush, but believes that in time, voters will realize they are ready for someone new. That includes Hillary Rodham Clinton, who kicked off her campaign at a rally in New York this past weekend.

Paul says, “I think there’s Bush-Clinton fatigue in the country, and I think even on the Democrats’ side, they’re going to be surprised once people get engaged in this and start making decisions.”

Paul says he’s not worried about how much money Bush is raising for his campaign, saying, “We think we’ll be competitive, and we’ll find out when they start counting the votes. … We’ll have enough to stay competitive.”


1:35 p.m. (EDT)

Jeb Bush is promising to go “everywhere” and speak to “everyone” in his presidential campaign.

The former Florida governor will formally enter the 2016 presidential contest Monday afternoon with a speech in Miami.

According to excerpts of his address released by his campaign, Bush will promise to “give it my all” and stay “true to what I believe” as he campaigns for the White House.

As he often does, Bush is expected to speak in both Spanish and English.

In his remarks, he says, quote, “In any language, my message will be an optimistic one, because I am certain that we can make the decades just ahead in America the greatest time ever to be alive in this world.”

He continues: “I will campaign as I would serve, going everywhere, speaking to everyone, keeping my word, facing the issues without flinching, and staying true to what I believe.”


12 p.m. (EDT)

Tea party Republicans are voicing their displeasure with Jeb Bush in the hours leading up to his 2016 campaign kickoff.

Bush would be the third member of his family to sit in the Oval Office, and tea party leader Mark Meckler says both George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush were “big-government” Republicans.

The president of Citizens for Self-Governance says they contributed to, quote, “the increase in size, spending and involvement of government in America.”

He also notes that Jeb Bush’s steadfast support for Common Core education standards and immigration reform “is a nonstarter with many conservatives.”

Brent Bozell is the chairman of the conservative group ForAmerica. He calls Bush “unelectable.”

Bozell says the GOP has in the recent past nominated three Republicans he says are moderates: Mitt Romney, John McCain and Bob Dole. They all lost, and Bozell says nominating another moderate would, quote, “be an exercise in futility.”


10:30 a.m. (EDT)

Marco Rubio is welcoming fellow Floridian Jeb Bush into the Republican race for president.

Bush formally gets into the 2016 campaign Monday with an afternoon speech in Miami. Rubio has been campaigning since April, when he also launched his campaign from south Florida.

In a statement, Rubio says he’s not exaggerating when he calls Bush his friend. He says, quote, “he is someone I like, care for and respect.”

The 62-year-old Bush was the 44-year-old Rubio’s mentor as Rubio was coming up through Florida politics. Many thought that Rubio, now a U.S. senator, wouldn’t enter the 2016 contest once Bush signaled his interest.

Rubio is running anyway. He regularly calls for “a new generation of leadership” while on the campaign trail. Rubio took a different approach on Monday, calling Bush “a passionate advocate for what he believes.”


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