Bush sounds like candidate in Raleigh stop
Posted May 1, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was quick to tell people during a Friday stop in Raleigh that he wasn't in town to announce a run for president in 2016, but he spent much of the time sounding like a candidate.
During a 20-minute speech and question-and-answer session at the North Carolina Republican Party headquarters, Bush slammed the Obama administration on its foreign policy, budget priorities and commitment to education.
"I'm an optimist about the future of this country," he told a room of supporters. "We have to fix how we regulate, how we tax. We have to embrace the energy revolution. We have to fix this broken immigration system. We have to fix our entitlement system. But if we do all those things, we'll grow at a far faster rate than any country in the developed world."
Bush is widely seen as a potential front-runner in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, and he has been traveling the country in recent weeks to, as he put it, "share my story." The son and the brother of former presidents, he said he wants people to know more about his personal background as he weighs his own run for the office. A decision will likely come in June, he said.
He described how he wooed his wife, started a family and moved to Florida, where he built the largest commercial real estate firm in the state before moving into politics. He contrasted his record as governor with President Barack Obama's as president.
"The difference between cutting taxes and raising taxes is economic activity on the one hand and a stagnant economy on the other," he said. "I believe that government's income should grow slower than personal income."
The "political hacks and academics" overseeing federal agencies are stifling economic growth nationwide through excessive regulation, he said, adding that the growing national debt just adds to the burden on taxpayers.
"It breaks my heart to know that, if you're born poor in this country today, you're more likely to stay poor, and if you're in the middle, you're getting squeezed," he said.
Bush also said the U.S. needs a more forceful presence in the world to ensure more peace and security. Without it, he said, radical groups will fill the void.
"Our friends don't believe us, our friends don't have the confidence that we're going to have their backs, and our enemies don't fear us," he said. "I believe restoring America's leadership in the world and presence in the world has to be the first priority of the next president."