NALEO Conference: Jeb Bush wows the crowd, en español
“Jeb Bush for presidente” was on many people’s minds today.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The reasons why former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) is so popular among Latino officials and voters were on full display during his Thursday speech here at NALEO.
Bush took the stage after Mitt Romney received a mixed reception to his campaign sales pitch and immigration platform. Bush praised Romney for giving an “excellent speech” but Jeb was clearly the crowd favorite. He easily alternated between English and Spanish during his address about education, a subject that’s deeply important to Latinos.
Bush, who is married to a Mexican-American woman, rattled off specifics about his education reform platform, which includes greater school choice and teacher accountability, saying those initiatives could benefit minorities the most.
“We have tolerated the soft bigotry of low expectations for far too long in this country. It is unacceptable and morally wrong to say ‘Juanito no se puede [can not], Maria no se puede’ because of their background, because they’re newly arrived,” Bush said, per the Associated Press. “All the excuses that you hear, we need to throw them away and have high, lofty expectations for every child in this country.”
Bush also yukked it up in Spanish, referring to his mother and former First Lady Barbara Bush as “La jefa de la familia Bush,” drawing chuckles from the audience.
The ex-governor also displayed his independent streak before the bipartisan audience of elected officials and political bigwigs, recalling his invitation to introduce President Obama at an education event in Miami.
“I am proud of the fact that as a former governor, I was asked by [Education Secretary Arne] Duncan to introduce our current president of the United States in a high school in Miami because we share common ground and I don’t know about you, but when we find common ground, we shouldn’t fight anymore. We should move on and build on that success,” Bush said.
“Apparently, one can get in trouble when they say these kinds of things, but I happen to believe it’s the American way,” he added. “There’s enough to fight about. To me, it’s about building capacity for the next generation to maintain the greatness of our country.”
Of course, Bush isn’t facing the pressures that Romney is running for president and thus appeared more at ease. But his communications skills made his close allies wish that it was Bush up against President Obama in the fall. Here’s Florida GOP strategist and Bush ally Ana Navarro:
Make no mistake about it, if Jeb Bush was the Republican nominee, he would win the Hispanic vote, change Ntl political dynamic.— Ana Navarro (@ananavarro) June 21, 2012