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2016 campaign checklist: Bush

Wednesday - 1/22/2014, 2:50pm  ET

THOMAS BEAUMONT
Associated Press

A look at former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's preparations for a potential 2016 presidential campaign:

Nondenial denial: "There's a time to make a decision. You shouldn't make it too early, you shouldn't make it too late. There's a time. There's a window. And this is not the time for me. This is the time to show a little self-restraint." -- November 2013, CNN.

Book: Yes. Co-authored "Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution," which he promoted on all five Sunday morning TV talk shows last March 10.

Iowa: Yes, in 2012, economic development meeting in Sioux City.

New Hampshire: No record of recent visits.

South Carolina: Yes, in April 2012. Spoke to Empower S.C. Education Reform meeting.

Foreign travel: Yes, a few times a year. Several visits to Israel, as governor (1999) and since then (private visit 2007). Also went there as Florida commerce secretary in 1980s.

Meet the money: Yes, and he's got longtime connections. Party in summer of 2013 for his immigration book at the home of Woody Johnson, owner of the New York Jets and a leading Republican bundler.

Networking: Yes, keynote dinner speech at Conservative Political Action Conference last March in Washington. 2013 Faith and Freedom Coalition meeting. Speeches and meetings on education policy. Told Kemp Foundation in October he considers the U.S. a "center-right country" and conservatives must "get outside our comfort zone" to govern effectively.

Hog the TV: Blanketed the Sunday talk shows last March to plug his book on immigration, a few appearances other times.

Do something: Staked a position on immigration to the right of Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and some others. Strong job approval ratings as governor of Florida, a swing state. Revamped state educational system, cut taxes, managed state through several hurricanes.

Take a stand: Active on education overhaul in addition to immigration. On the latter, irked some Republicans by writing in his book that he did not support a path to citizenship for those living in the country illegally. Previously had expressed support for such a path, and later said he was open to the idea if it did not encourage illegal immigration.

Baggage: The Bush factor. Jeb is yet another Bush, which is a plus for many people but a huge negative for a big slice of the electorate that either didn't like Bush 41 and/or 43, or simply objects to the whole idea of a political dynasty. Even Barbara Bush, when asked about son Jeb running, said last April: "We've had enough Bushes." Not much he can do to deflect this, other than show that he's his own man, and keep 41 and 43 at a distance.

Shadow campaign: He's a Bush -- he's got connections. Sally Bradshaw, his chief of staff when he was governor, is his go-to political person.

Social media: Tweets and posts many Wall Street Journal stories, education thoughts and some Bush family doings. Tweeted in November 2013: "Why would our President close our Embassy to the Vatican? Hopefully, it is not retribution for Catholic organizations opposing Obamacare." Fact checkers pointed out the U.S. Embassy in Rome is relocating, not closing.


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