Jeb Bush is deploying his "secret weapon" in a new video designed to appeal to Hispanic voters.
A new video released by the campaign Monday shows Bush speaking in Spanish and his wife, Columba Bush, speaking in English in her most expansive comments to date on her husband's behalf.
Entirely in Spanish, the candidate says: "The United States of America is a great country. Thanks to the people that come from all over the world, contributing to our economy and community. To me, Hispanic culture is very important and positive."
His wife, who was born in Mexico, adds in English: "I have lived over half my life here. We all have the same interests, the same feelings."
She adds later: "We go to church every Sunday. We have celebrations with the family and we keep our traditions. But at the end it’s just that, faith, friends and family."
In conclusion, Bush adds: "Hispanics contribute more every day to our culture; they are an integral part of the American dream. For these reasons and more, I invite you to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month because we are all Americans."
The ad is timed to the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, which begins Wednesday and stretches into mid-October — a period during which most Central American and South American countries mark their independence days.
But the ad also comes amid an ongoing tiff between Bush and Donald Trump, who has criticized virtually everything about the former governor's presidential campaign, including his tendency to speak Spanish. Trump has suggested that Bush should only speak English while in the United States — something Bush has repeatedly dismissed as disrespectful.
Bush and his campaign advisers remain confident that if he prevails and becomes the Republican presidential nominee — a huge "if" at this point given his current low polling position — that his family's bicultural and bilingual history will be a huge political asset.
Speaking about his potential appeal to Latino voters in late July, Bush told reporters: “I have a secret weapon, Columba Bush, I have Hispanic children, I have Hispanic grandchildren, I’m part of the community, so I think there’s a way to campaign and there’s a record that I have that … when people see it and hear it is, I think it’s going to be okay. I cannot imagine having the same kind of numbers that Republican candidates have had in past presidential elections. I’m pretty confident that we can do better.”