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June 15, 2015 2:28 pm

Jeb Bush Officially Launches Run for President

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Jeb Bush. Photo: Gage Skidmore.

Jeb Bush. Photo: Gage Skidmore. – Former Florida governor Jeb Bush on Monday officially joined the crowded 2016 presidential race, which now has 11 candidates on the Republican side.

Coming from a family that produced two U.S. presidents, Bush has a warm relationship with the Jewish community of Florida, where he has governor from 1999-2007. He has been scrutinized by some pro-Israel observers for the presence of former secretary of state James Baker—a vocal critic of Israel—on his team of 21 foreign policy advisers. But when Baker blasted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for “diplomatic missteps and political gamesmanship” in remarks at this year’s J Street conference, Bush said through a spokesperson that he “disagrees with the sentiments [Baker] expressed” and pledged “unwavering” support for Netanyahu.

In May, at the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference/CONEL convention in Houston, Bush said there is “no better place” for the U.S. government to start changing its foreign policy than “re-establishing a stronger relationship with Israel.”

“It will create stability in the Middle East, it will create a sense of moral purpose of our foreign policy, and it is important to re-establish in short order,” he said.

Fred Zeidman, a Houston businessman and Republican fundraiser who is close with the Bush family, in March that Jeb Bush “has certainly never given any indication that he won’t be as strong of a supporter [of Israel] as his brother [former president George W. Bush].”

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