Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush promised Tuesday that should he run for president, he would center his campaign around a “digital-media platform” to engage in a two-way conversation with voters.
Addressing about 300 Florida politicos in Tallahassee at a fundraiser for a super PAC formed to back his likely candidacy, Bush said he would create an online forum for launching a conservation directly with voters.
“If I go beyond the consideration of running, the kind of campaign that could be is one that is going to be front and center driven by a digital media platform that allows for ideas to be shared directly with people,” Bush said. “You can’t ignore the political process at all, but there is a better way I think of having a two-way communication with people, and to share some powerful ideas that will lift people’s spirits and make their lives better.”
Bush’s speech came hours after he launched a website to highlight the hundreds of thousands of emails he sent and received as governor, many of which involved him interacting directly with voters about their problems and concerns about state government.
He also said he will spend the “next few months” spreading his “right to rise” message before he makes a campaign official. “What we need to do is lift people’s spirits with provocative ideas that can help them rise up,” he said.
Bush highlighted increasing income inequality, telling his supporters, most of whom backers from his time as governor and many wearing red “Jeb! ’16” stickers, that many Americans are economically “stuck.”
“If you’re born poor in America today for the first time in American modern history, you’re more likely to stay poor than at any time ever before,” Bush said, adding that median incomes have declined. Bush said the solution lies with a combination of reforming tax and regulatory codes, as well as improving education standards and job training programs.
Bush criticized President Obama’s style of governance and politics, arguing they are “really about pushing people down to make themselves look better.”
Speaking to the friendly audience, Bush asked the crowd to continue to pray for his family as he prepares to embark on a presidential campaign.
“Continue to pray that I stick on this paleo diet that,” he joked, referencing his decidedly slimmer figure. “Perpetually starving to death apparently is the source of losing weight,” he added.
Bush also addressed his call for comprehensive immigration reform noting the economic benefits. He said the U.S. should “change our immigration system so that we can get the best and the brightest,” saying there is an opportunity bring in “600,000 first-round draft picks a year.”
His decision to allow reporters into his super PAC fundraiser was a transparency move that is yet to be embraced by his likely Republican opponents and one that surpasses the access provided by the White House to Obama’s fundraisers.