The "family" portion of the speech came toward the beginning as Bush was laying out his principles in regards foreign policy. Here's the full section as delivered:
I've also been fortunate to have a father and a brother who helped shape America's foreign-policy from the oval office. I recognize that as a result my views will often be held up in comparison to theirs. In fact, this is a great, fascinating thing in the political world for some reason. Sometimes in contrast to theirs. Look, just for the record, one more time, I love my brother, I love my dad, I actually love my mother as well, hope that's OK. And I admire their service to the nation and the difficult decisions that they had to make, but I'm my own man, and my views are shaped by my own thinking and my own experiences.
118 words. Out of a speech -- not counting the question and answer following Bush's remarks -- that ran well over 4,000 words. Roughly two percent of all the words Bush spoke had to do with his family and his own man-ness. Watch the whole speech; I guarantee you that the "family" section will feel sort of out of place; kind of like the dream sequence in "Dumbo" -- tangentially related to the main plot but barely so. (Sorry. I have young kids. That "Dumbo" sequence weirds me out every time.)
Given the sort-of-out-of-nowhere nature of what Jeb said on his family -- and the fact that the "I am my own man" line was included in the excerpts shipped to reporters (including this one) Tuesday night, it seems very clear what Jeb (and his team) were up to. This was a trial balloon for how (and how much) Jeb will -- and will have to -- talk about the Bush name in the campaign to come. His people are smart and, therefore, were well aware that the lines about his family would dominate coverage and overshadow a speech decidedly light on specifics. That level of press coverage and scrutiny will function, at some level, as a sort of gauge for how much leeway (or not) Bush has to talk about his brother and father (or not talk about his brother and father).
Assuming the Bush folks did this on purpose -- and I am very strongly suspicious that they did -- then it's a very smart strategic move. Begin the airing of the major issue for Jeb -- his last name and all it means -- even before he is a candidate in a speech that will draw lots of attention from the politics-starved political media. Measure reaction and adjust accordingly.