More often than not, presidential campaign announcement speeches rehash well-worn themes candidates have championed, but former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s speech broke the mold. His announcement address at Miami-Dade College Monday was chock-full of rhetoric that may have had viewers doing a double take. Here are five key passages from the speech that might surprise you.
1. Jeb Bush attacks Washington’s “swarms of lobbyists."
Bush slammed politicians for being too close to the multibillion-dollar influence-peddling industry, yet Bush has relied on that same industry to bankroll his political campaigns. The New York Times reports that during his campaigns for Florida governor, “Bush received at least $237,000 from hundreds of lobbyists, lawyers, political consultants and others in the capital.” In his presidential run, the Times also notes, he has already held “seven private fundraisers and meet-and-greets in the Washington area,” proof that “he seems to have mastered a skill that is crucial in this city: tapping into the money-raising clout of the K Street lobbyists.” The Washington Post followed up with a lengthy list of Washington lobbyists now working to help Bush win the Republican presidential nomination.
2. Jeb Bush slams “pampered elites” and says he is “not just another member of the club."
Those lines came from the millionaire grandson of a senator, son of a president and brother of another president. Later in the speech, in fact, Bush actually highlighted part of that biography, noting that he is “a guy who met his first president on the day he was born and his second on the day he was brought home from the hospital.” And while Bush rails on "pampered elites" and their "club," the Washington Post has reported that he recently unveiled a list of foreign policy advisers - 19 out of 21 of whom "worked in the administrations of his father or brother."
3. Jeb Bush criticizes President Obama for referencing religious crusades.
Bush said “it’s still a mystery to [him] why, in these violent times, the president a few months ago thought it relevant at a prayer breakfast to bring up the Crusades.” Bush did not mention similar concerns when his brother, George W. Bush, made headlines for using the term “crusade” to describe his invasions of Muslim countries.
4. Jeb Bush says the federal government should “have nothing to do with setting” education standards.
“Every school should have high standards, and the federal government should have nothing to do with setting them,” Bush said. But Bush has been an outspoken supporter of his brother’s “No Child Left Behind” law, which included a host of controversial federal education mandates. In the past, Bush has also been a strong supporter of Common Core education standards, which have been pushed -- and financially incentivized -- by the federal government.
5. Jeb Bush bashes the Obama administration for having “failed to be the peacemakers” in international affairs.
Jeb Bush is the brother of a president who initiated two wars -- including one that has been the longest in modern American history -- and who was, in the estimation of some critics, responsible for helping create the Islamic State group. Jeb Bush has been an outspoken supporter of those policies, which few describe as “peacemaking.” Not only did Jeb Bush originally support the Iraq War and recently reiterate that he would have authorized that war, he said of his brother’s war policies: “News flash to the world: If they're trying to find places where there's big space between me and my brother, this might not be one of those."