Jeb Bush: 'You can't just be against the president'
August 24th, 2011
01:19 PM ET
3 years ago

Jeb Bush: 'You can't just be against the president'

(CNN) - Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush offered advice to 2012 Republican hopefuls: bashing President Barack Obama is not enough to win on the campaign trail.

"I hope that the Republican candidates, when they are offering their solutions, it's good to be critical of the president, I think the president means well, but his policies have failed," Bush said on Fox News. "And to point that out, nothing wrong with that. That is politics. But just to stop there and say, 'Well, I'm going to win because I am against what is going on' is not enough."

When asked by Fox News Host Neil Cavuto if some in his party overdo their criticism of Obama, Bush said, "I do. I think, when you start ascribing bad motives to the guy, I think that is wrong. It turns off a bunch of people that want solutions."

Bush also suggested candidates not shy away from their conservative views.

"I would humbly suggest to you that being a conservative is not necessarily a bad thing. But if you are a conservative, you have to persuade. You have to defend a position. You can't just be against the president," Bush said.

"And that's the big test."

So behind whom will he throw his support?

"I'm neutral in the presidential race, but I'm an admirer of Governor Romney's," Bush said, while noting he is looking forward to the unveiling of Romney's jobs agenda in September.

Bush was also quick to deny any rift between his family and Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Perry served as former President George W. Bush's lieutenant governor while Bush was governor of Texas.

"I have never heard anybody in my family say anything but good things about Rick Perry," Bush said. "I admire him. And I think Texas has got a great story. And he can legitimately talk about that story as a candidate for president."

Noting "it's too early to be dissatisfied with the candidates," Bush addressed those who are labeled unelectable.

"You know, I like Jon Huntsman a lot. And I think his voice should be heard. And we need to be a broad party with divergent points-of-view. That's fine," Bush said. "But Ronald Reagan was a conservative. And everybody said the exact same thing about him, that he couldn't win, that there is no way, and he was unelectable. The pundits typically get these things wrong."

No matter the candidate, Bush said he would support his party all the way to the White House.

"I'm going support the Republican nominee," Bush said. "I believe that the Republican candidate will win. And I'm looking forward to that."


Filed under: 2012 • Jeb Bush • President Obama
soundoff (282 Responses)
  1. GonzoinHouston

    " You can't just be against the president," Bush said.
    That's the smartest thing I have ever heard him say, and he's right, to boot. Being vehemently against every breath Obama takes will win points with the base and the TPs, but won't do much with the independents who ultimately decide elections.

    August 24, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  2. NVa Native

    Nail on the head – I guess that's why they call him the "smart one".
    But just a bit too late after three years the only Repub policy has been "if that one's for it we're against it......wait....that was our idea?"
    Now some Repubs want to appear like they can govern instead of just throwing selfish tantrums? No thanks, we've seen what it's like when you try.

    August 24, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  3. gt

    good point ...how about ideas on jobs, getting out troops home , saving social security....

    August 24, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  4. GOP Hate America

    well said Jeb and its the reason why the GOP are no good they dont have solutions now they didnt when your dimwit brother crashed this country into the ground either.

    August 24, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Sorry Jeb, the GOP 2012 field is certified crazy with NO ideas.

    August 24, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  6. Steve, New York City

    My lord. . .Jeb might actually be the intellect that his father (still is), and that his brother is not.

    Some on the right are too stupid to understand – "Tar Baby," 'You Lie," or simply staying silent about the outrageous claims of the birthers . .these people are implying that they hate Obama for what he is (and that this is their overwhelming motivation for trying to screw over his every initiative).

    Thank you, Jeb Bush, for talking some sense. Thank you Huntsman and Paul, as you two are the only current candidates that have seemed to stick to your principles (rather than trying to stoke the racist vote).

    August 24, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  7. RINO Bil

    Wise words from an unlikely source.

    The real problem is that most of the Republican Tea Bag Party presidential wannabees don't have anything to offer except, "Obama must go," and as time goes by that mantra will become mere background noise. Jeb Bush is correct, these clowns better start presenting detailed plans and programs of how they will turn this country around, or in 2012 they will give Brack Obama and the Dems four more years.

    August 24, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  8. Liz the First

    Any policy failures are a direct result of republican obstructionism purely for the purpose of destroying Obama's presidency, and the American people are nothing but collateral damage to these power-mad hypocrites. Obama's policies would have made a big difference for the better in our lives if not for the repugs' standing in their way. the party of 'we've got ours and we want yours, too' have no solutions to the mess they created. they like the mess and they think it'll drive folks to vote for them. if we elect another repub, we can kiss this country good-bye!!!!!!

    August 24, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  9. Cleareye

    If ever a guy was poisoned he is it. The name Bush is virtually synonymous with incompetence due to his brothers failings. Very hard to overcome that burden.

    August 24, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I would humbly suggest to you that being a conservative is not necessarily a bad thing. But if you are a conservative, you have to persuade. You have to defend a position. You can't just be against the president," Bush said.
    -------------------------------------------------–
    The problem is that the current GOTeatards' positions are qute indefensible, that is for those that have any positons besides Obama-bashing.
    I'm sitting here wondering if Jeb is making sense to me only because (with one possible exception) the rest of his Party reps are so far out in somebody else's field that they are making him look like a genius. Maybe that is the new Rethug strategy: talk and act like lunatics so as to make it appear that ONE of them has some sense.
    Just think, 15 more months of this b.s.
    Obama 2012

    August 24, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  11. Jess C

    Yes, this coming from the brother of one of the worst President's in American history. However, Bush looks good compared to the current GOP field of wack jobs. Jeb's disingenous stance about bashing the President is nothing but crap as he claims Obama's policies have been a "failure". Reality is that it's the GOP Congress that's been a major failure for blocking any movement all that could help get jobs created without giving in to corporate deregulation and everything else they want. Theirs is a self-serving agenda which is focused only on doing what they can to see Obama fail. They clearly are "party first" at the expense of all of us and the country...shame on them all! Voters need to be awake!

    August 24, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  12. FIELD1stSGT

    Jeb you should be running.Your the only logical one I've heard lately. This includes Obama and the GOP hopefuls.

    August 24, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  13. MiddleOfTheRoad

    ".....You can't just be against the president," Bush said.
    and
    "No matter the candidate, Bush said he would support his party all the way to the White House."

    Maybe you can "just be against the president", eh Jeb?

    August 24, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  14. Dang ol' yo

    "Fool me once, shame on you. You can't get fooled again." –George W. Bush

    August 24, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  15. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Well, that gets rid of all current GObPers.

    August 24, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  16. Jaywing

    Hey Jeb, here's some advice for the you and the rest of GOP, including the quesionable candidates you're putting forward for the Republican nomination: Stop being snarky bastards, sit your butts down and do some real work instead of just saying 'NO' to everything, get a jobs bill together, be inclusive of all Americans not just your rich donors, drop the stupid meaningless slogans, distance yourselves from the Teabagging crowd, embrace science - ignore religion, tell Palin, Bachmann and Perry to crawl back under their medieval rocks, and get serious about expelling the racists, bigots and homophobes from your ranks.

    August 24, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  17. Andrea

    Wow, a Republican with common sense, who knew?!

    August 24, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  18. kevin

    The last time anyone listened to a Bush...they ended up wandering the dessert for 40 years.

    August 24, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  19. JebBro

    Great advise, too bad no one will hear you.

    August 24, 2011 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  20. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    But if you take away Deimos (anxiety) and Phobos (fear), the republicans have nothing.

    August 24, 2011 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  21. Wes B.

    Remind me again why we elected George W. instead of this guy? Jeb seems to have a good head on his shoulders, even if I might disagree with him politically.

    Jeb said "I think, when you start ascribing bad motives to the guy, I think that is wrong." And this is something I've always said. I couldn't STAND George W. when he was in office. I thought most of his decisions were abysmal. But I never doubted that he was trying his best. I never doubted his motives. And that's what is so despicable about how Obama is treated by the right wing.

    August 24, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  22. God is not a republican!!

    They will not listen to you Jeb. They have a primary election to win and to do that, you have to throw decency and common sense to the wind.

    August 24, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  23. Richard:

    Is this another earthquake? No wait....its common sense. I'm not a fan by any means but I appreciate that he is encouraging something other than mindless unproductive garble. The moment and situation are too critical for this type of behavior from our "leaders???". Thank you sir.

    August 24, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  24. Sandy

    Oh goody, advice from a Bush. LOL

    August 24, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  25. Olaf Big

    Clear signal that the Bushes do not support Rick Perry for president. Big handicap for a Texas politician! Of course, Rick Perry's mouth is an even bigger handicap.

    August 24, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
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