Jeb Bush announces he is running for president of the US

Republican US presidential candidate and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush waving as he arrives to formally announce his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination during a kickoff rally in Miami, Florida on June 15, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUT
Republican US presidential candidate and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush waving as he arrives to formally announce his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination during a kickoff rally in Miami, Florida on June 15, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush has officially confirmed his bid for the White House, putting months of speculation to an end.

His announcement on Monday at the Kendall campus of Miami Dade College in Florida, where he was a two-term governor, focused on fixing the problems in Washington, creating 19 million new jobs for Americans, and making education a priority.

“Our country is on a very bad course,” said Mr Bush. “The question is what are we going to do about it? The question for me is what am I going to do about it? And I’ve decided I’m a candidate for president of the United States of America.”

Mr Bush, 62, vowed to "take Washington out of the business of causing problems".

Banking on his former experience as a governor in Florida, he said: "I know we can fix this because I've done it."

As governor from 1999 to 2007, Mr Bush made education a priority, helped families with disabled children, succeeded in creating new jobs and introduced tax cuts and gained much support for his work.

"I think it changed for the better," said Mr Bush in an earlier interview.

Hoping to apply his executive skills to the economy at large, he said: "There's not a reason why we cannot grow at 4 per cent a year and that will be my goal as president."

He also criticised American foreign policy and the job done by the "Obama, Clinton, Kerry team" and said if he becomes president, he would rebuild "vital friendship" in particular with Israel, and reverse America's military inferiority.

"We will rebuild our armed forces and take care of our troops and our veterans..you have my word, I will do it," he said.

Hitting at the Democrats, he said they have "offered a progressive agenda that includes everything but progress, they are responsible for the slowest economic recovery ever, the biggest debt increases", and added that "America deserves better".

Ahead of the announcement, Mr Bush's campaign released a logo with just his name: "Jeb!".

Experts have said the logo intentionally excludes his last name so as not to remind voters of his family legacy - both his father George Bush and brother George W Bush have held the nation's highest office.

Because of his family connection, Mr Bush has had to deal with questions about his brother's decision to authorise the Iraq war. He fumbled through the a number of interviews in May but eventually settled on the line that the war was worth fighting, but he would not have sent combat troops knowing there was faulty intelligence.

Mr Bush is hoping to stand out in the crowded Republican field by highlighting his ability to reach out to the minority base and spoke in fluent Spanish during his announcement. He earned a degree in Latin American affairs at the University of Texas, and is married to Columba Bush, 61, from Mexico, who would be the first Hispanic first lady if he were to become president. They have three adult children.

His son George P. Bush, Texas General Land Office Commissioner, also spoke about his father's character, faith and willingness to serve others just before his father took to the stage.

"Jeb Bush is the greatest man I've ever known and he's going to make an excellent president of the United States of America," he said.

Showing he is willing to work for every vote, Mr Bush told his audience: "I will campaign as I would serve going everywhere, speaking to everyone keeping my word, facing the issues without flinching, and staying true to what I believe."

"I will take nothing and no one for granted, I will run with heart and I will run to win," added Mr Bush.

He will travel to New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina following his speech.