Jeb Bush talks about mom at Elmhurst College forum: 'I'm so blessed to be her son'

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Jeb Bush spoke at the 11th Annual Elmhurst College Governmental Forum in Oak Brook, just one day after his mother died. (WLS)

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush spoke Wednesday morning in Oak Brook, starting with comments about his mother, former first lady Barbara Bush, who died a day before.

"I still feel her looming presence behind me, saying 'You said you were only going to speak 30 minutes so make sure you don't go beyond that," Bush told a crowd at the 11th Annual Elmhurst College Governmental Forum.

Barbara Bush died Tuesday at the age of 92.

He told the crowd that his mother would have wanted him to attend the forum because he had committed to do so.

"If she was here, she'd say, 'Thank God you made it,' because she would have been very upset if I stayed home," he said.

He said his mother was his first teacher.

"I'm so blessed to be her son. She taught us to be civil, she taught us to love your family with your heart and soul," Jeb Bush said of his mother.


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A day after Barbara Bush died, her son, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, told a crowd in Oak Brook: "I'm so blessed to be her son."

He ended his comments about his mother with, "I love her dearly."

Jeb Bush talked about leadership in a changing world at the event, which was being held at the Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort in Oak Brook. He participated in a Q&A with Chicago Tribune Publisher and Editor-in-Chief R. Bruce Dold.

During the discussion, Jeb Bush also talked about his dad, former President George H.W. Bush. The couple were married for 73 years.

"He held my mom's hand all day long yesterday. She passed in the early evening and I called him and he said, 'I am kind of a crybaby right now. I am not feeling very good,'" he said.

Elmhurst College officials reached out to Jeb Bush Tuesday night to see if he would still be able to serve as the keynote speaker.

"We scheduled for him to come months ago and only recently learned that his mother was so ill and we were wondering," said Desiree Chen, of Elmhurst College.
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