Jeb Bush tells graduating Grove City students to rise up through hard work
On an overcast spring morning, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told 585 graduating Grove City College students on Saturday that the future depends on creating a country where hard work makes a difference.
“It's time now for us to be bolder, to sunset the obsolete rules that exist so the next generation can truly rise up,” Bush said.
Bush, said to be considering a run in the 2016 Republican presidential primary, delivered the keynote address at the school's commencement ceremony. College officials said it was the only graduation speech he would give this season.
In late April, Bush said he was considering a primary bid, and he has yet to shut down further speculation. His stop at Grove City — a private school affiliated with the Presbyterian Church that refuses federal aid, and where his sister-in-law, former first lady Laura Bush, delivered the commencement speech three years ago — suggests a way to raise his profile in the run-up to 2016.
Steffen Schmidt, a political science professor at Iowa State University, said there is no question Bush is testing the water, noting recent, bold statements on immigration laws.
“Every opportunity to get visibility and have people talk and write about you is important,” Schmidt said.
In a 14-minute address, “America's Promise in Uncertain Times,” Bush said dwindling economic mobility is among the nation's greatest challenges.
“This is where the next generation of American leaders have a huge role to play,” he said. “There are ways to give opportunity to those who have been denied it.”
Bush called for closing education achievement gaps across economic and racial demographics. He proposed fixing the nation's “failing immigration system” with compassionate and pragmatic policy. And he called faith and family the keys to a life of purpose, urging students to adhere to their beliefs.
“This may seem a little challenging today, where we have a federal government that has willingly violated religious freedom of its citizens, but we don't have to accept it,” he said.
Bush served as governor of Florida from 1999 through 2007, while his older brother, President George W. Bush, was in office from 2000 through 2008. Their father, President George H.W. Bush, lost re-election to President Bill Clinton in 1992.
The open-seat 2016 primary could include New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Schmidt said Bush has pending invitations for visits in Iowa, which hosts the nation's first presidential primary caucus, and that Iowa Gov. Terry Brandstad soon would attend a Bush fundraiser in Florida.
Bruce Haynes, president of bipartisan public affairs firm Purple Strategies in Washington, said that at this stage, could-be candidates travel the country, meet with donors and gauge potential support. Bush, along with Christie, are two candidates who could “put up a tent big enough to get everyone under,” Haynes said. But Christie's prominence could wane, Haynes said, because of a scandal that arose over lane closings on the George Washington Bridge, which critics have charged was politically motivated.
One problem for Bush is the same facing the potential Democratic front-runner: former Secretary of State, senator from New York and first lady Hillary Clinton.
“Ultimately, the biggest issue that confronts them is: Is America ready for another president with those last names?” Haynes said.
Candidates likely won't start declaring intentions to run until after the midterm elections this fall, he said. Bush likely could wait longer than others, though, as his establishment ties and widespread name recognition would pull strong fundraising.
Even then, primaries are marathons, Haynes said. Successful candidates are like racehorses, he said, that do not tire before the finish line.
“It's easy to be exciting for 15 minutes,” he said. “It's hard to be relevant for 15 months.”
Melissa Daniels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8511 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Another woman accuses man of grabbing her shorts on river trail
- Crosby, Malkin to miss start of Penguins camp
- 11-year-old who turns in airsoft gun he took to Penn Hills middle school faces expulsion hearing
- Range Resources to pay $4.15M fine, close old gas drilling impoundments
- Steelers defense a long way from ‘greatest of all time’
- Mini parks coming Friday to Pittsburgh parking spaces
- Fishing report: Slow fishing around region
- PennDOT worker injured in Beaver County
- Pittsburgh motorists get fewer parking tickets, pay more at meters
- Students carve out a corner of Internet for Greensburg
- Bowling tournament honors Hempfield coach