On the eve of formally launching his bid for the White House, Jeb Bush says he’s prepared for a long slog to break out of the crowded pack of Republican presidential candidates.
“It will take time. It always does,” Bush told CNN in an interview televised Sunday.
Bush said he will focus on his record as a two-term Florida governor, where he became known as a champion of tougher educational standards, to define himself as something other than the son of former President George H.W. Bush and the brother of former President George W. Bush.
“Well, Jeb is different than George. And Jeb is who he is,” Bush told CNN’s Dana Bash. “My life story's different."
“I don’t have to disassociate myself from my family. I love them,” he added. “But, I know that I'm on -- for me to be successful, I'm going to have to show my heart and tell my story.”
Bush plans to formally join the race for the GOP nomination on Monday with a speech at Miami-Dade College.
As an unannounced candidate for the last six months, Bush has been able to focus on courting financial donors for his super PAC. But in a race already crowded with candidates, he has struggled to open a lead in the polls.
In the interview, shot in Estonia before he flew home on Saturday, Bush dismissed reports that his campaign is not on track because he already had switched campaign managers. He said most voters don't care.
“People make up their mind in the last weeks of these primaries. So my expectation is that we'll have slow, steady progress,” he said. “That's been the expectation all along.”
Bush promised to offer policy alternatives as a candidate. But he also said he will talk about his experience as a governor and businessman in South Florida.
“Something that I think has been lacking in the presidency is to have someone who has been tempered by life,” he said.
“It's something that took a little getting used to for me personally to be able to show my heart because I'm kind of introverted but it's important to do,” he added.
On Sunday, his campaign released a video that features Floridians praising Bush’s record on domestic violence, school vouchers and helping the disabled.
“All of these things can be fixed, I am absolutely convinced of it,” Bush says in the video. The answer, he says, is “new leadership that takes conservative principles and applies them.”