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Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush acknowledged Wednesday that his famous last name will be "an interesting challenge" as he embarks on a likely 2016 presidential run, saying that if he's going to make his case to the American people, "I'm going to have to do it on my own."
In a question-and-answer session after remarks at the Detroit Economic Club, Bush spoke candidly about public views of his father, former President George H.W. Bush, and his brother, George W. Bush.
The elder Bush brother called his father "the greatest man alive" and said that "I love my brother, and I think he's been a great president."
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"It doesn't bother me a bit to be proud of them and love them" he added. "But I know for a fact that if I'm going to be successful going beyond the consideration [of running for president], then I'm going to have to do it on my own."
Asked about the crowded GOP field, Bush said that he hopes to avoid intra-party "food fights" and suggested that Republicans will have more "discipline" in 2016 because of the high stakes of the race.
"Politics is chaotic," he added. "The idea that there's some smoke-filled room where big dogs and women who have all this power decide that who's going to be what, that was gone a long time ago," he said, characterizing the current political process as a kind of "wild west."
The comments came after Bush delivered remarks focused on economic mobility, saying that "the opportunity gap is the defining issue of our time."
“The recovery has been everywhere but in the family paychecks. The American Dream has become a mirage for far too many,” he said. “So the central question we face here in Detroit and across America is this: Can we restore that dream -- that moral promise -- that each generation can do better?”
And he dismissed the Obama administration's claims of a robustly rebounding economy, saying recent gains have been "very little and ... very late."
Democrats offered a rebuttal to Bush’s speech by noting that he opposed the auto bailout. “Just a couple years ago Jeb Bush was asked by Charlie Rose if he supported the President's decision to rescue General Motors. Without hesitation, he responded: ‘I don't. I don't.’ You don't?” wrote Lon Johnson, the chair of the Michigan Democratic Party.