Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) can’t escape his famous family as he explores a potential presidential run.
Polls show his membership in a bonafide political dynasty may hurt with some voters. And Bush has been peppered with questions about his last name on the campaign trail.
Last weekend in New Hampshire, the New York Times reported Bush reacted “tersely” to a media question about what separates him from his father, former President George H.W. Bush and older brother, former President George W. Bush.
Bush was described as having “little appetite” to face questions about his last name, but he hasn’t necessarily shied away from the Bush brand since he announced his presidential exploration in December.
Here’s how Bush has discussed his family so far on the trail. He has repeatedly declared his admiration for both his father and brother and said he is proud of their service, while insisting he is his own man.
New Hampshire, March 13
Friday marked Jeb Bush’s first stop in New Hampshire in 15 years, his last visit occurred during the 2000 presidential campaign for his older brother George W. Bush.
His itinerary included a meet and greet event with locals on Friday night at a house party hosted by a state Republican leader in Dover.
“I want to talk a little bit about myself. People know me as George’s boy and Barbara’s boy, everybody knows that, and George W.’s brother, and all of that I’m very proud of,” he told the homespun crowd, adding that his “real life experience really has been driven by my wife of 41 years Columba.”
After the event, Bush indulged the media and was asked by one reporter, “how are you going to separate yourself from your brother and your father?”
“Going to events like this,” he said.
CPAC, February 27
During a question and answer session at CPAC, the first question FOX News host Sean Hannity posed to Bush was about his famous family.
“Are you mad at your mum because she did say, ‘I don’t know if we need another Bush in the White House?'” Hannity asked, referencing Barbara Bush’s comment in April 2013 that “we’ve had enough Bushes” in the White House.
Jeb revealed that his mum’s comments came out of the blue.
“I saw that, actually on the ‘Today’ show when my brother was opening up his presidential library and my mum unleashed that on me on national television instead of telling me directly. That was a little difficult but since that time she’s had a change of heart,” he said.
He added that should he decide to run for President, “it can’t be about the past, can’t be about my mum or dad or brother.”
Chicago Council on Global Affairs, February 18
Bush spoke of his adoration for his family but boldly declared “I am my own man,” in remarks to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in February.
“I’ve also been fortunate to have a father and brother who helped shape America’s foreign policy from the Oval Office. I recognise that as a result, my views will often be held up in comparison to theirs. In fact, this is a great, fascinating thing in the political world for some reason. Sometimes in contrast to theirs.”
“Look just for the record one more time, I love my brother, I love my dad, I actually love my mother as well. I hope that’s ok.
“And I admire their service to the nation and the difficult decisions that they had to make. But I’m my own man and my views are shaped by my own thinking and my own experiences.”
Detroit Economic Club, February 4
At a February event at the Detroit Economic Club, the host reminded the Republican that his “last name is Bush.”
“That’s what I’ve been told,” Jeb quipped.
He expressed his admiration for his family and their service but acknowledged if he did decide to run for president, “I’m going to have to do it on my own.”
“If I was to go beyond the consideration of running, I would have to deal with this and turn this, this fact into an opportunity to share who I am…I love my dad. In fact, my dad is the greatest man alive and if anybody disagrees we’ll go outside, unless you’re like 6’5 and 250 and much younger than me, then we’ll negotiate. I’m still not going to change my mind for sure.
“And I love my brother and I think he’s been a great president. It doesn’t bother me a bit to be proud of them and love them. But I know for a fact that if I’m going to be successful going beyond the consideration, than I’m going to have to do it on my own.”
January 23: National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention and Expo
Shortly after the January launch of his political action committee, Right to Rise, Jeb Bush addressed the National Auto Dealers Association in San Francisco.
Bush began his speech with a Bush family update, declaring George H.W. bush as the “greatest father in the world” and his brother, George W. Bush, as a man “of incredible determination.”
“I love my brother and I love his service to our country.”
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