We pulled data from the Federal Reserve to show how ambitious that goal actually is. The green dotted line indicates the 4 percent mark; we've colored the bars according to the party of the president. And we've highlighted the previous presidents Bush.
That's year-over-year, from one January to the next. GDP data is released quarterly, and in several quarters both George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush oversaw GDP growth over 4 percent. On average, though, each fell short -- substantially. The last president to average over 4 percent growth was Lyndon Johnson.
For what it's worth, Bush's proposal was still relatively modest compared to a goal offered by one of 2012's contenders. That year, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty proposed 5 percent GDP growth -- something he called a "big, positive goal." Which it was. It was also all-but-unattainable. The boom years under Reagan and Clinton averaged under 5 percent. Since 1970, it's happened five times.
By that metric, Jeb Bush's own big, positive goal is also downright simple.