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Jeb Bush 2016: 7 Highlights From Pre-Politics Life of GOP Presidential Hopeful

Image: Jeb Bush 2016: 7 Highlights From Pre-Politics Life of GOP Presidential Hopeful
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By    |   Sunday, 25 Jan 2015 01:42 PM

Before he entered the family business of politics, Jeb Bush was a real estate developer who learned how to speak Spanish fluently, lived abroad for a time, and watched as his father and brother served a total of three terms as U.S. president.

The country will learn much more about Jeb Bush's politics as he considers running for the Republican nomination for president in 2016, but here are seven highlights from the pre-politics life of this GOP presidential hopeful.

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1. Before he graduated high school from Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, Bush spent the summer between his junior and seniors years in the central Mexican city of Leon with a student-exchange program. He taught English while there, and that experience was a major reason Bush majored in Latin American affairs while at the University of Texas.

2. One of the most important moments of his life occurred during his short stay in Mexico. While walking the streets of Guanajuato with a friend, John Schmitz, Bush spotted a 16-year-old girl, Columba Garnica, in the back seat of a car driven by her sister. As Garnica recalled to the Chicago Tribune, Bush said, "Ah, esa chica me gusta!" Translated, that means, "I like that girl." When Schmitz and Columba's sister began dating, Bush was invited to the Garnica home, and that's where couple began their courtship.

3. Bush and Garnica began an old-fashioned courtship where the two constantly sent letters to each other, and they grew so close that Bush asked her to marry him two years later. But that didn't stop his mother, Barbara Bush, from anxiety. "How I worry about Jeb and Columba," she wrote in a diary entry recounted in The Washington Post. "Does she love him?" The answer was yes. The two married Feb. 23, 1974, at the University of Texas chapel when Garnica was 20 and Bush was 21.

4. Bush excelled in school, starting kindergarten a year early and needing only two and a half years to graduate Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Texas. He was even considered by one Texas political consultant to have the same kind of political wonkiness as Al Gore, according to Politico.

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5.
After he wed Garnica, Bush began working as a communications specialist for the Texas Commerce Bank, and the company eventually sent him to live in Caracas, Venezuela, so he could open a branch in the oil-rich company. Later in his life, though, Bush expressed doubts about his abilities as a banker. "I wasn't real good at collecting loans," he told the St. Petersburg Times.

6. While helping with his father's run for president in 1980, Bush returned to live in the U.S. After George H.W. Bush was elected as President Ronald Reagan's vice president, Jeb Bush moved with his family to Miami to work with real estate investor Armando Codina, who fled Cuba when he was a teenager and who had become a big supporter of Bush's father. Codina became partners with Jeb Bush, inserting the Bush name into the company's title and giving him 40 percent of the profits.

7.
Near the end of his second term as Florida's governor, Patrick Rooney — whose family owns the Pittsburgh Steelers — privately approached Bush and asked if he'd be interested in becoming the NFL's commissioner. Bush said no.

"I met with Mr. Rooney and I said, 'I'm doing my job until I'm finished and then I'm going to consider other things,'" Bush said at the time.

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Before he entered the family business of politics, Jeb Bush was a real estate developer who learned how to speak Spanish fluently, lived abroad for a time. The country will learn much more about Jeb Bush's politics as he considers running for the Republican nomination for president in 2016.
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