Ballot Box

Jeb Bush: ‘I’m running for president’

NBC News

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) may have let the cat out of the bag on his expected White House bid during a media event on Wednesday.

“I’m running for president in 2016,” Bush said to reporters in Nevada before walking that declaration back.

{mosads}“The focus is going to be about how, if I run, how you create high-sustained economic growth where more people have a chance to earn success.”

Potential candidates walk a tightrope, with Federal Election Commission (FEC) regulations that clamp down on their fundraising abilities once they declare. By FEC rules, a person becomes a candidate after making a statement referring to him or herself as a candidate.

It’s unclear whether the slip of the tongue would have any FEC implications for Bush as he continues to mull his bid. He repeatedly referred to his candidacy as hypothetical outside of that one comment, stating that he is not yet officially running and that he’ll make up his mind soon. 

He’s not the first prospective candidate to accidentally refer to a likely campaign as official. Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee (D) twice told reporters that he was running before telling The Hill that he misspoke.

Bush also briefly addressed the controversy over his comments in support of the decision by his brother, President George W. Bush, to invade Iraq in 2003. He has since said he misheard the question from Fox News’s Megyn Kelly, who asked him if he supported the decision to go to war now that he knew Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction.

“Of course I have differences with every previous president,” he said.

When reporters asked him about his differences with his brother, Bush joked that he’s “much better looking.”

“If I run, it will be 2016, not 2000. The world has changed dramatically, the context of the campaign will be different, the whole country is different. It’s obvious that my life experience is different, and all of that doesn’t change anything about my love for him or my respect for him.”

Updated at 4:03 p.m.

Tags George W. Bush Iraq War Jeb Bush
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