Jeb Bush admitted Monday that he made a “mistake” in 2009 when he listed his ethnicity in a Miami-Dade County voter-registration form as “Hispanic.”
The likely 2016 Republican presidential contender is, obviously, not Hispanic, at least not by birth. Yet that’s what he ticked as his “race/ethnicity” in the form filed March 6, 2009.
Bush’s admission came in a tweet to his son who joked about a New York Times story revealing the elder Bush’s confusing registration, filed after he left the Florida governor’s mansion. A Bush spokeswoman couldn’t explain the discrepancy to the Times.
The Miami Herald notes that the Miami elections department requires a hard copy of the form, which needs the applicant’s signature.
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Bush’s wife, Columba, is Mexican American, so she and their children are Hispanic. And Bush is, in the literal sense of the word, “Hispanic” — that is, he speaks Spanish. He met his wife in León, Mexico, and as a young married couple they lived in Caracas, Venezuela.
Politicians have been dragged down in the past by messing up on government forms. In 2012, Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren misrepresented herself as a Native American during her Senate race, prompting significant backlash. For Bush, identifying as Hispanic wouldn’t have resulted in any political gain.
Miami’s Cuban Americans already consider Bush an honorary member of their community, given that his ties to the exile establishment run so deep.
The Democratic opposition group, American Bridge, compiled a round up of video reports on the mix up.