Jeb Bush sure looks like he is running for president. He is traveling through early primary states. He is talking about releasing old emails from his time as Florida's governor. And he is asking his brother and father, both former presidents, about their thoughts on whether he should run. But he still hasn't actually announced that he wants to be commander in chief.
The likely candidate continued to frustrate political observers waiting for an official announcement during a 10-minute commencement address Monday at South Carolina's largest university. Bush also picked up an honorary doctorate degree in public service. He did not mention a future campaign, but it was his second visit in three months to the important early primary state, according to the Associated Press. The appearance came a day after he said he would be a "good president" in a TV interview.
"Do not settle for artificial limits on you or this nation," Bush told an estimated 2,750 college graduates and 14,000 of their relatives and friends. "We can be greater than we are."
With his family name and deep network of potential donors, Bush would be a tough opponent for any of the other likely 2016 GOP candidates, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. "There's a lot of affection for the Bush family in South Carolina," Warren Tompkins, a veteran South Carolina Republican operative who worked with George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, told the AP.
But Jeb Bush offered few clues during his South Carolina visit, sticking to common graduation platitudes instead. "Life isn't always about the happy moments," he said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. "Everyone faces adversity eventually. You won't get the job you wanted. A friend might disappoint you. Someone you love will leave this world way too early. But those things we can't control. We can control how we react. If you're able to find joy in life wherever you can, I can promise you this: Joy will find you."