(Correction: Duncan will appear via video)
Hillary and Jeb? I’m not talking about the 2016 presidential race — at least not yet. For now, Hillary Clinton has accepted an invitation from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to appear at a conference in Texas that he is co-hosting next week on higher education. Education Secretary Arne Duncan will be there, too, by video.
The Associated Press quoted Bush, the brother of former president George W. Bush and son of former president George H.W. Bush, as saying this when asked why he invited her to the conference in Dallas:
“This isn’t a political conference… There’s a real consensus in our country that higher education is hugely important and if we can find ways to improve quality and lower costs and provide greater access in the United States and around the world, it’s hard to argue against that. The question is, how do you do it?”
The conference is called “Globalization of Higher Education,” and is being held on March 24-25. Co-hosting with Bush, a Republican, is former North Carolina Gov. Jim Hunt, a Democrat, and Queens’ College, University of Cambridge.
Clinton, the former secretary of state and first lady of the United States, leads a conference list of speakers, which also includes Duncan, by prerecorded video, and New York Times columnist Tom Friedman.
On Sept. 10, 2013, Bush, as chairman of the congressionally created nonpartisan National Constitution Center presented Clinton with its Liberty Medal in a ceremony at which he noted that she “has dedicated her life to serving and engaging people across the world in democracy,” and, according to this AP story:
“Hillary and I come from different political parties and we disagree about lots of things. But we do agree on the wisdom of the American people — especially those in Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina,” Bush joked, referring to the three states that have traditionally played pivotal roles in presidential campaigns. Bush mused that Clinton was visiting Des Moines, Iowa, next week. “Now, don’t actually wear the medal there, Madam Secretary.”
Bush is a national leader in the school reform movement that is centered around standardized test-based “accountability” systems and school choice. In fact, one of his foundations, the Foundation for Educational Excellence, which is funded in part by corporate testing companies, just unleashed an ad campaign to support — what else? — testing and accountability!
Neither Bush nor Clinton have declared their intentions regarding the 2016 presidential race, but many expect Clinton to run, and while people close to Bush have said they doubt he will run, some political observers are wondering if his frequent public appearances mean that he just might.