`Rainbow team' to steer Bush drive

GEORGE W BUSH, by far the most likely Republican candidate for the White House in next year's election, put himself forward yesterday as the man who could reunite America behind the Republican Party.

Mr Bush, Governor of Texas, has assembled a Presidential Exploratory Committee that is more diverse and open than any of his opponents. He presented himself as the heir to the party of Reagan and Lincoln at a time when it is increasingly seen as right-wing, exclusive, rich, white and Southern, and obsessed with toppling Bill Clinton rather than policy.

"I want the party of Lincoln to be the party that makes sure no one is left behind," said Mr Bush in Austin, the Texas state capital.

"Ours is a party that is open, that is diverse, that is principled." The party had tended to ignore minorities, especially the Hispanic community, he said.

Mr Bush, 52, is sometimes referred to as just "Dubya" to distinguish him from his father, the former President. He calls himself a "compassionate conservative", to distinguish himself from the party's ideological right wing.

He had confirmed earlier in the week that he would form a Presidential Exploratory Committee. If he wins the Republican nomination, then he will probably face Al Gore, the US Vice-President and most likely Democratic candidate in 2000.

The evidence from his selection of advisers is that he is actively courting just about every possible constituency in America. J C Watts, the only black Republican in the Congress, was on the 10-person team, with Henry Bonilla, the first Republican Hispanic to be elected to Congress from Texas. There are three women: Jennifer Dunn from Washington, the first woman of either party to run for Majority Leader in the House of Representatives, Ann Northup from Kentucky, and Condoleeza Rice, a former White House official.

He has also diversified his team regionally. There is a Mid-Westerner, Michigan Governor John Engler, a Southerner, Republican Senator Paul Coverdale from Georgia, and Roy Blount from the Plains state of Missouri. Haley Barbour, former Republican Chairman, brings considerable fund- raising expertise and George Shultz, former Secretary of State and of the Treasury, lends gravitas and experience.

Mr Bush spent much of the weekend speaking to the Second Baptist Church in Houston, Texas's largest church and one of the biggest in the country. Securing the support of the religious right will be crucial to his campaign.

He has also been assisted by Ralph Reed, the highly influential former executive director of the Christian Coalition, in making connections in North Carolina. That is the home state of Elizabeth Dole, Mr Bush's chief opponent for the Republican candidacy.

Mr Bush will not formally declare his candidacy until June, after the state legislature has finished its business. But he left no doubt of his intentions. He talked about "when I leave Texas next June". And when asked about comparisons with his father, he said: "He is not the candidate. I am the candidate," later correcting himself.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy