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Report: Jeb Bush Self-Identified As Hispanic On Voter Application In '09

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and his wife, Columba, arrive at the Hispanic Leadership Network conference on April 18, 2013, in Coral Gables, Fla.

Updated at 11:39 p.m.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and his son Jeb Bush Jr. have responded to a news report that the likely Republican presidential candidate self-identified as Hispanic in a 2009 voter-registration application.

The New York Times reported the story today, citing Bush's application it obtained from the Miami-Dade County Elections Department. A spokeswoman for Bush could not explain the characterization to the newspaper.

Bush, the brother of a former president and the son of another, hails from one of the country's most-prominent political and business families. Indeed, Burke's Peerage, a directory of royalty, lists the Bush family's connections to European royal families.

The Times notes, Bush "speaks fluent Spanish. His wife, Columba Bush, was born in Mexico. For two years in his 20s, he lived in Venezuela, immersing himself in the country's culture." Bush, a former Florida governor, has long advocated appealing to Spanish-speaking voters. Univision, the Spanish-language network, even labeled him a "Hispanic candidate."

As The Times notes, heritage is serious business in politics. Democrat Elizabeth Warren's claims of Cherokee ancestry during her academic career sparked controversy when she was running for the U.S. Senate in 2012.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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