Jeb Bush officially launched his presidential campaign on Monday in Miami, in front of a crowd that included his mother, former First Lady Barbara Bush and longtime friends.
In his speech, Bush highlighted his eight years as Florida governor, focusing on education and the economy. He also said the country could achieve energy security within five years, and called the current administration’s foreign policy (and that of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) “phone it in” foreign policy.
Thanks to protesters in neon shirts that stood up in the audience, Bush also addressed immigration.
“Just so that our friends know, the next president of the United States will pass meaningful immigration reform so that will be solved – not by executive order!” Bush adlibbed.
Bush, whose former president father and brother were not there for the announcement, also acknowledged the growing field of Republican contenders.
“It’s nobody’s turn,” Bush said.
The audience included longtime Bush friends and associates who worked to help elect his father, his brother and Bush himself in his campaigns for governor.
“The Bush family is a good family,” said Sarasota resident Anna Jacobson, who was selling Jeb Bush T-shifts outside the venue on Monday.
Bush also drew big names including Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, Florida CFO Jeff Atwater and Florida Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam. Former U.S. Mel Martinez said he’d been waiting for Bush to make the announcement and was “delighted” to be there.
“I’m here to support Jeb Bush,” Martinez told News Channel 8. “He was a fabulous governor for Florida and I think he’d make a great president for our country.”