NPR logo With Facebook Post, Jeb Bush Takes A Big Step Toward 2016

With Facebook Post, Jeb Bush Takes A Big Step Toward 2016

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's Facebook announcement comes following a series of statements that he would soon decide on a presidential run. Facebook hide caption

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Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's Facebook announcement comes following a series of statements that he would soon decide on a presidential run.

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After months of hints and Hamlet-esque worries about the woes of a modern presidential campaign, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced on a Facebook post that he is "actively" exploring a presidential run.

Bush wrote that the decision came after spending time with his wife, Columba, and their children and grandchildren over Thanksgiving. "We shared good food and watched a whole lot of football," Bush wrote. "We also talked about the future of our nation. As a result of these conversations and thoughtful consideration of the kind of strong leadership I think America needs, I have decided to actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States."

The actual language is little different from what he has been saying all year, but the formality of the message and accompanying tweet put Bush ahead of most of the other potential 2016 candidates, including fellow Republicans Rand Paul and Chris Christie and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Bush, 61, served two terms in Florida's governor's mansion from 1999 to 2007. After his father, George H.W. Bush, lost his bid for a second term in the White House in 1992, many political observers expected second son Jeb to be the next Bush to run for the presidency.

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But that plan was derailed when he lost his run for Florida governor in 1994. At the same time, his elder brother, George W. Bush, won his run for Texas governor. After George W. Bush's re-election in 1998, he became the consensus favorite among many Republicans to run for the presidency in 2000.

Jeb Bush gave no hints about Tuesday's announcement at a University of South Carolina commencement speech on Monday, but he did explain during a lengthy interview with a Miami TV station that aired Sunday that he would decide on a run soon, one way or the other.

"Do I have what it takes to go through a campaign and be capable of leading this country? That's a humbling thought, if you're really serious about it," he said.

Bush built a record of conservative policies during his years as governor, including big tax cuts, the outsourcing of thousands of state government jobs, and the creation of private school voucher programs. But he has drawn criticism from the Tea Party wing of his Republican Party for his support of Common Core education standards and a comprehensive immigration overhaul.