Jeb Bush: 'I'm My Own Man'

Possible 2016 candidate seeks to distinguish himself from HW, Dubya
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2015 9:02 AM CST
Former US President George HW Bush, center, is joined by his sons, former US President George W. Bush, left, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, on June 12, 2009, in Kennebunkport, Maine.   (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

(Newser) – He's got two former presidents—and about two dozen top-level advisers to those presidents—by his side, but Jeb Bush says he's got his own foreign-policy views. "I love my father and my brother. I admire their service to the nation and the difficult decisions they had to make. But I am my own man—and my views are shaped by my own thinking and own experiences," Bush says in prepared remarks ahead of a Chicago speech today, as per the Washington Post. But, as the Post points out, Jeb Bush already has at least 20 veterans of his brother's and father's administrations to lean on as he preps for a campaign: That list includes two ex-secretaries of state under his father and Ronald Reagan (James Baker and George Schultz), two former CIA directors, two former Homeland Security directors, and other foreign-policy aces and diplomats.

Jeb Bush "finds himself in a unique and difficult position" as he tries to set himself apart from his kin, a previous Post article mentions. He hopes to do that in his address today before the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, in which he's expected to acknowledge how "lucky" he is with two Oval Office alums in his ear, but also explain how he'll forge his own path to strengthen the US as a world leader and reinvigorate weakened relationships in the Middle East, Europe, and Latin America. Bush's statements also take on the economy, the current administration ("Hashtag campaigns replace actual diplomacy and engagement"), and the military: "The President's word needs to be backed by the greatest military power in the world. Because I believe, fundamentally, that weakness invites war … and strength encourages peace." (Meanwhile, Barbara Bush is now OK with one more Bush in the White House.)

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