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Jeb Bush moves closer to 2016 run

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

In the strongest indication yet that the next member of the Bush dynasty is planning a 2016 presidential run, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush Tuesday agreed to appear at the upcoming CPAC convention, long considered the first step to running for president.

The American Conservative Union said that Bush will address the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference scheduled for March 14-16 in National Harbor, Md., on the Washington beltway. It will be his first appearance.

Bush is considered one of the leading potential candidates, along with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. However, he has been coy about his intentions.

Here is the ACU statement:

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The American Conservative Union (ACU) today announced former Florida Governor Jeb Bush will address CPAC 2013 - the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference. America's largest gathering of conservative leaders and activists will be held Thursday, March 14 - Saturday, March 16, 2013.

"We are pleased to announce that my friend Governor Jeb Bush will be a featured speaker at CPAC 2013," said ACU Chairman Al Cardenas. "We look forward to welcoming Governor Jeb Bush to the CPAC stage for the first time in March."

Governor Jeb Bush was elected Florida's 43rd Governor in 1998, and was re-elected in 2002. During his two terms, Governor Bush revolutionized the education system to achieve dramatic rising student achievement, provided substantial, broad based tax relief and economic incentives to strengthen and diversify Florida's economy. He also initiated measures to strengthen families, help the state's most vulnerable citizens, and protect Florida's natural resources.

The 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference, to be held March 14-16, 2013, at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, will provide three days of blockbuster speeches, policy discussions and networking opportunities - all celebrating the shared principles of smaller government, a strong national defense and traditional American values. The ACU has hosted CPAC in the Nation's Capital since 1973, and it now stands as the largest annual gathering of conservatives in the country. For additional information, visit our website at conservative.org/cpac2013, on Facebook at facebook.com/CPACNews, or on Twitter at @cpacnews and #CPAC2013. Media registration (including bloggers) opened on February 1, 2013.

The CPAC 2013 schedule and list of confirmed speakers will be announced in the coming weeks. Previously announced confirmed featured speakers include: former U.S. Representative Artur Davis, former Puerto Rican Governor Luis Fortu?o, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, U.S. Senator Mike Lee, U.S. Senator Rand Paul, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, U.S. Representative Paul Ryan, former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, U.S. Senator Pat Toomey, former U.S. Representative Allen West and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.