The bilingual Bush in Puerto Rico

2015-04-29 06:11
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. (Carolyn Kaster, AP)

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. (Carolyn Kaster, AP)

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San Juan - Jeb Bush's fluency in Spanish is going over well in Puerto Rico.

The former Florida governor delivered a speech on economic opportunities partly in Spanish on Tuesday, and his audience responded with hearty applause. Bush is fluent in the language, and often uses it in Florida, but it's rarely heard in Republican presidential campaign politics.

In his speech, Bush noted how he came to Puerto Rico to campaign for his father in the island's first presidential primary.

"For three months, I think I may have become a resident of Puerto Rico, and my dad won, which is a by-product of a great experience," he said.

Bush also spoke about immigration and its importance for the United States, a touchy subject for him in the 2016 Republican presidential contest but one he embraced.

"We're an immigrant nation and we should be proud," he said, as someone in the audience yelled, "Yes!"

Bush smiled. "I know about the immigrant experience because I married a beautiful girl from Mexico," he said. "My children are bicultural and bilingual."

Bush is in the US territory for a fundraising event and town hall meeting with Republicans. He's expected to announce his candidacy for the Republican nomination, joining Senators Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas, as well as many other prospective rivals, in the race.

He wasn't ready to make that announcement on Tuesday.

Puerto Rico's Republican Party leader, Carlos Mendez, leaned forward at one point and passed on an index card with the question everyone was wondering: "Are you going to run for president?"

Bush laughed and said, "I'm on the journey of considering that, trying to figure out if I have the support necessary to do it. Today's not the day to trigger a campaign but I appreciate the sentiment."

Read more on:    jeb bush  |  us

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