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‘I’m running for president in 2016’: Jeb Bush caught announcing campaign early

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Republican Jeb Bush appears to have unintentionally announced his candidacy for president in 2016 in a conversation with reporters on Wednesday that was caught on video.

Speaking in Nevada, the former Florida governor seemed to acknowledge he was a candidate but right afterward indicated he had not made up his mind.

“I’m running for president in 2016, and the focus is going to be about how we, if I run, how do you create high sustained economic growth,” Jeb Bush said.

He also made clear earlier in his exchange with reporters that he was not yet a candidate. “No, no I’m not an official candidate. I’ve been traveling the country for the last three months and making up my mind, trying to determine the support I may have should I go forward,” he said.

A transcript of the exchange was provided by a Bush aide.

Bush announced in December that he would “actively explore” a run for the White House, but he has yet to formally declare he is running.

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The difference between considering a run and actually jumping into the race affects what he can and cannot do under the law with regard to fundraising. Once candidates formally enter the presidential race they face tighter restrictions on raising money.

Bush has appeared at fundraisers across the country for Right to Rise, a political action committee that was created by Bush’s legal team. If he were to declare he is running, he could still appear at the group’s functions but would be prohibited from coordinating with it over messaging.

Larry Noble, senior counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, said his group has complained to federal election officials that Bush is running and should already be following rules for candidates’ fundraising.

“He’s going to say it was a slip of the tongue, but that’s absolute nonsense at this point,” Noble said.

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Bush was responding on Wednesday to a question about what he would have done differently than his brother, former President George W. Bush. Jeb Bush has taken heat from some Republicans and Democrats this week over comments he made in a Fox News interview about his brother’s decision to go to war in Iraq.

Bush said in the interview, which aired on Monday, that given the intelligence available at the time, he too would have authorized the invasion. On Tuesday, he said he misinterpreted the question and that the invasion was based on bad intelligence about weapons of mass destruction.

Other Republicans who are weighing presidential runs offered different takes.

Ohio Governor John Kasich told The Columbus Dispatch that, knowing the intelligence was wrong, he “wouldn’t have seen it as vital to national interests” to launch the invasion.

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(Reporting by By Emily Stephenson and Emily Flitter; Additional reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Diane Craft)

Watch footage of Bush’s remarks, as posted online on Wednesday, below.

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Dem lawmaker serves notice to Hope Hicks that Trump won’t be able to save her when he grills her during Wednesday’s hearing

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On Saturday, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) gave MSNBC's Alex Witt a brief rundown of what he wants to learn from former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks at her closed-door testimony next week — and warned that if Hicks tries to use executive privilege as a shield, Democrats will not stand for it.

"Let's talk about Hope Hicks," said Witt. "What do you expect to hear from her that she has not already offered in testimony?"

"Here's what's important about Hope Hicks," said Deutch. "She was a key part of the Trump campaign, which is a large part of the report is focused on. She was a key part of the Trump Administration in the early days, and that's the reason that she's a prominent figure in the Mueller report."

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Here is how ABC gave a helping hand to Donald Trump in his bid to be re-elected

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On Friday morning, some affiliates in ABC News’ digital division posted an article promoting an online “birthday card” for President Donald Trump — who turned 73. The “card” turned out to be linked to a petition website created by Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC). And those ABC affiliates, according to the Daily Beast, helped Trump and the RNC add to their e-mail lists.

“Happy Birthday, Mr. President!,” the content read. “To help him celebrate, the GOP has made him a digital birthday card.”

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2020 Election

Furious Dem lawmaker blows up on Trump over his Iran war escalation: ‘What the hell did he think was going to happen?’

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On Saturday, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), a 2020 candidate for president, told MSNBC's Alex Witt that the rapidly escalating tensions between the United States and Iran are President Donald Trump's fault — and explained how he would do things differently if he is elected.

"Before we get to the debate, I just want to ask you, if you were the president right now, how would you be addressing the situation with Iran?" asked Witt. "Do you think you would try to de-escalate the tensions and move forward in some fashion? Have you given some thought to that?"

"Of course you want to de-escalate it," said Ryan. "The war in the Middle East at this point, in addition to what's going on in Iraq and Syria and all of the other activity there, would be a disaster."

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