Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush appeared in South Carolina just weeks before a self-imposed deadline to decide whether he will run for president in 2016.
Bush gave Monday’s commencement address at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. It marks the Republican leader’s second visit in less than three months to the state that will host the 2016 presidential primary season’s first contest in the South.
Bush urged the graduates to embrace their lives and share it with others. “This is your life, these are your goals and if they matter to you, you will do everything possible to achieve them,” he told students during the roughly ten-minute speech.
The former governor asked them to share their talents with others in their lives. “Dream big, don’t be afraid of change and find joy everywhere you can. And I ask only one thing in return for this humble advice, give back to your communities, serve others with time and energy and the resources you can,” Bush told the graduates and the crowd gathered at the Colonial Life Arena.
Monday’s speech did not touch on any overtly political themes, but observers are keeping an eye on its timing. In a television interview that aired just before his South Carolina appearance, Bush expressed confidence that he “would be a good president,” adding that he was in the process of writing an e-book about his time as governor. That book will be released in the spring.
Bush said would make public about 250,000 emails from his time in office in an effort to promote transparency and to “let people make up their mind,” he told ABC’s Miami affiliate WPLG-TV.
While his aides said he did not meet with political operatives in South Carolina, Bush did visit Gov. Nikki Haley at the Governor’s Mansion about two hours before Monday’s ceremony.