Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who announced earlier this week
on social media that he has "decided to actively explore the possibility of running for president of the United States" is in Chicago to meet with potential fundraisers.
Bush was to host a breakfast Friday morning at the Four Seasons Hotel in the city's Near North neighborhood, a source with knowledge of the event but not authorized to discuss it publicly told The Chicago Tribune
Money was not being actively solicited at the breakfast, but the newspaper reported that the small number of people attending indicates Bush could be meeting with potential campaign contribution bundlers to set up a financial network for an upcoming campaign.
The visit comes after Barclay's bank in Britain announced Bush would be leaving his position as a paid adviser, effective Dec. 31, according to a report in The Financial Times
in a move being interpreted as another sign Bush will seek the GOP nomination.
But Bush's push to boost his own personal wealth is worrying some donors who remember how voters in 2012 turned away from multimillionaire candidate Mitt Romney in part because of his lucrative career at Bain Capital, The Financial Times noted.
Bush told a Miami television station, though, that he is "not ashamed" of his experience, and that Romney "probably didn't defend an incredible success story."
"We’re creating jobs, we’re expanding business," he told the station, according to The Financial Times' report. I’m not ashamed of that at all. I think that practical experience is something that might be useful in Washington, D.C."
Bush has also announced his plans to launch a leadership political committee come January to "support leaders, ideas and policies that will expand opportunity and prosperity for all Americans," reported The Chicago Tribune.
Meanwhile, The Economist
on Friday noted that Bush's "half-entry" into the race has triggered analysis about the kind of Republican Bush is as the campaign nears.
"Those who remember his time running Florida from 1999 to 2007 recall a stern fiscal and social conservative, who cut billions of dollars from state tax receipts and passed a welter of pro-gun laws," the publication notes, but more recently, he's become a spokesman for the GOP pro-business wing.
But he has come under some fire from conservatives for his support of Common Core education standards and his stance on comprehensive immigration reform.
The Economist's piece, though, says Bush has not changed his own opinions much, but the party has made a shift toward the right, thanks to the influence of the Tea Party.
"Many of the business bosses, big donors and establishment Republicans who have spent years longing for Mr. Bush to run do not just disagree with the conservative grassroots, they dislike them and resent their influence," says The Economist. "The antipathy is mutual: perhaps no other candidate for 2016 so angers Tea Party types."
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