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Jeb Bush's Audacious Announcement

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Reprinted from National Memo


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Presidential campaign announcement speeches typically rehash well-worn themes politicians have long championed. They rarely include shockers or attempts to wholly redefine a candidate. Not so for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush -- his announcement address at Miami Dade College this week was an extreme makeover that included passages that likely had America doing a double take.

To start, Bush slammed politicians for being too close to what he called Washington's "swarms of lobbyists." Yet, Bush has relied on that multibillion-dollar influence 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 lobbyists now working to help Bush win the Republican presidential nomination.

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Bush also slammed "pampered elites" and insisted he is "not just another member of the club." Those lines, of course, 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."

Bush highlighted education, which he considers one of his signature causes when he was governor of Florida. But in his presidential campaign speech, he veered away from his own record, insisting he believes that "every school should have high standards, and the federal government should have nothing to do with setting them." That declaration came from the same politician who has been an outspoken supporter of his brother's No Child Left Behind Act, which included a host of controversial federal education mandates. Additionally, Bush has been a strong supporter of Common Core education standards, which have been pushed -- and financially incentivized -- by the federal government.

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David Sirota is a full-time political journalist, best-selling author and nationally syndicated newspaper columnist living in Denver, Colorado. He blogs for Working Assets and the Denver Post's PoliticsWest website. He is a Senior Editor at In These Times magazine, which in 2006 received the Utne Independent Press Award for political coverage. His 2006 book, Hostile Takeover, was a New York Times bestseller, and is now out in paperback. He has been a guest on, among others, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC and NPR. His writing, which draws on his (more...)
 

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