Can Jeb Bush Get Out From Behind His Family's Legacy? : It's All Politics The former Florida governor and 2016 Republican presidential candidate says he's his own man, but his brother George W. Bush will pitch in at a campaign fundraiser this week.

Can Jeb Bush Get Out From Behind His Family's Legacy?

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Jeb Bush likes to tell audiences that he is his own man. It's a way to put distance between himself and the two other Bush family members who've served as president. But this week, former President George W. Bush will headline a fundraiser for his brother. It will again put the spotlight on the Bush legacy and what it may mean for the 2016 candidate. NPR's national political correspondent Don Gonyea reports.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: Jeb Bush is certainly aware that some people are uncomfortable with the notion of a third member of his immediate family becoming president. Heck, his own mother, the blunt former First Lady Barbara Bush, had this to say when asked about it on NBC's "Today Show" a couple of years ago.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "TODAY SHOW")

BARBARA BUSH: There are other people out there that are very qualified, and we've had enough Bushes.

GONYEA: As we all know, Jeb did not take mother's advice.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

JEB BUSH: I will run with heart, and I will run to win.

(CHEERING)

GONYEA: But he has also wrestled with the dynasty question.

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J. BUSH: For starters, I'm blessed to be George and Barbara Bush's son.

GONYEA: That was on Fox News, and he's been asked about it on the campaign trail. This was in Detroit.

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J. BUSH: And I love my brother, and I think he's been a great president. It doesn't bother me a bit to be proud of them and love them.

GONYEA: Both presidents have fans and critics, but it's their mistakes that Jeb Bush has to contend with.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

GEORGE H. BUSH: Read my lips - no new taxes.

(CHEERING)

GONYEA: It's a promise his father would eventually break, angering many conservatives to this day. As for George W. Bush...

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GEORGE W. BUSH: Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof - the smoking gun - that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.

GONYEA: Jeb Bush himself has been asked repeatedly whether he'd have done what his brother did in Iraq. He struggled with the answer. At one point earlier this year, he first said, yes, he would have.

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MEGYN KELLY: Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion?

J. BUSH: I would've. And so would've Hillary Clinton - just to remind everybody. And so would've almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence they got.

GONYEA: That was on Fox News. Then, days later, Bush said he misunderstood the question. If the topic of Iraq tripped him up, he's gotten out in front on other issues. On the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, for example, he toured Florida and highlighted his own much-praised record handling disaster relief as governor. His campaign even produced a video.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Governor Jeb Bush not only had prepared us, but he was physically on the ground at the scene.

GONYEA: Likewise, Jeb always mentions the jobs created in Florida during his tenure, a contrast to the economic crisis at the end of George W.'s presidency. His opponents like to make use of the Bush legacy as well. Donald Trump points to the Jeb Bush campaign logo, which features just his first name with an exclamation point. To Trump, it says the candidate is afraid to use his last name. And Trump likes to echo Bush's own mother.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DONALD TRUMP: The last thing this country needs is another Bush. We've had it with the Bushes.

GONYEA: For the record, Bush's mother is on board with his candidacy today. Even if many voters have mixed or negative views on the Bush legacy, the former presidents are a major draw for many donors, which brings us to this week's fundraiser. The setting touches on another aspect of the family legacy - George W. Bush will appear in New York City on Thursday, September 10, the eve of the anniversary of the day that defined his presidency. Don Gonyea, NPR News.

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