Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) on Saturday dropped a line that could be interpreted as a signal about his plans for 2016.
“If you feel inspired to serve your fellow citizens, don’t let the ugliness of politics keep you from pursuing public office,” he said during a graduation ceremony at Pennsylvania’s Grove City College, according to The Washington Post.
The Christian college commencement address was Bush’s only graduation speech of the year, and comes as his name is repeatedly emerging as a potential presidential candidate in two years.
Bush told graduates to hold onto their socially conservative values, a message that could play well among the Republican base. The message also serves as a contrast with more libertarian members of the party eyeing the race, like Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulThis week: GOP picks up the pieces after healthcare defeat Trump, GOP fumble chance to govern GOP senators pitch alternatives after House pulls ObamaCare repeal bill MORE (R-Ky.).
“We must recognize the power of loving, committed family life and strong communities as essential for earned success,” Bush said. “Finding ways to restore strong, committed two-parent family life will help break the cycle of poverty for so many.”
Bush has so far declined to commit to a 2016 bid, but his stock has risen with the George Washington Bridge scandal surrounding New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and a growing sentiment that lawmakers like Paul and Sens. Ted CruzTed CruzRepublicans giving Univision the cold shoulder: report How 'Big Pharma' stifles pharmaceutical innovation AIPAC must reach out to President Trump MORE (R-Texas) and Marco RubioMarco RubioRepublicans giving Univision the cold shoulder: report Week ahead: Senate panel to vote on Trump's Labor pick Senators introduce new Iran sanctions MORE (R-Fla.) may be tainted by dysfunction in Washington.
In recent polls, Bush has emerged as a top contender in a hypothetical 2016 GOP matchup.