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. Phil in KC

    It's refreshing to hear a voice of reason coming from the Republican party. I don't agree with Jeb's politics necessarily, but I do appreciate his rational approach.

    August 24, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  2. I vote for the best candidate

    Well said Gov. Bush. With all the problems this country faces I also look forward to spirited debates among all the candidates to hear their ideas of where they want to lead this country. These last three years have been a disaster. I think everyone can agree we need to take a break from what our govt has put us through.

    August 24, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  3. Terri

    The governor is so correct on this point. Any time one of the GOP candidates, Boehner, or Cantor begins to speak I tune out because all it is going to be as complaints, whining, anger etc.. It gets so tiresome. I will listen to Paul Ryan, Ron Paul, and Senator Rubio. They actually talk about actions. But those who do nothing but belly ache – I've totally had enough of them.

    August 24, 2011 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  4. mdn

    Its unfortunate that we endured 8 years of Jeb's retarded brother who didn't even speak english. Jeb would have been a much better president, and I would still be a republican.

    August 24, 2011 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  5. JOE

    Let's face it, the GOP continue to sway from the issues because they have no solutions at all. After all, they created the problems that this administration is faced with fixing. And while some of you accuse president Obama of blaming Bush, let me state that the president will stop blaming Bush when all of Bush's problems he inherited eventually go away. And that will take more than one term to fix especially when the GOP is standing in the way and continuing to create road block after roadblock to delay progress.

    August 24, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  6. normajean

    It's not that Obamas policies have failed, it's that the Republicans have failed to do anything and made Obamas work harder. President Obama has saved part of the automobile business with a loan since repayed,.and has been partly responsible for the Libyan people getting their freedom. He has eliminated Bin Laden ,and has left his print on any number of changes.in our political scene. He Has had to fight the Repubs EVERY INCH of the way to get anything done and gets nothing but criticizm from them while they do NOTHING!!! It's impossible to name one positive thing they have done in the past three years. Our president has made every attempt to work with them, in fact gone too far many of us think, but he is trying to save a sinking society while the Repubs just make it worse.!! 2012 can't come fast enough!!!

    August 24, 2011 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  7. dinak

    Obama is an anti-american monster. He hates the U.S., as does his gross, money-grubbing wife. they are thieves and disgusting liars. anyone would make a better president that BO, including his own dog.

    August 24, 2011 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    "You can't just be against the president," Bush said."

    Oh, goody! Jeb's got his kindergarten hat on and is trying bring sense to a party out of control. Give me a break. Michele Bachmann has spent the past 3 years with her dainty nose shoved in the air, not only at President Obama, but we his supporters as well. Do any of you HONESTLY think we who support the President will jump ship for the likes of HER? Good luck with that. Same can be said for Romney, Ron Paul, Perry, Santorum, Cain and all the other hopefuls trying to grab attention with their anti-Obama rhetoric. I've become tone deaf to the nonstop barrage of insults. Doesn't make me less inclined to vote for Obama, though.

    August 24, 2011 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  9. Laverne

    The repub candidates are so pathetic they won't hear or listen to any voice of reason including GOD himself! Maybe they will hear when they are crushed at the polls, oh make no mistake about it they will lose and lose big time. The middle class will reward them with defeat next Nov.!

    August 24, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  10. SCAtheist

    I don't agree with many of his viewpoints, but at least Jeb is sane.

    August 24, 2011 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    watch who challenges Huntsman in 2016 in the GOP primary. Huntsman and Bush 3.0 are smart to try to get out in front of the inevitable and incoming GOP diaspora from Teatroll Land. If the contest of seeing who can be the biggest right wing conservative plutocrat extremist doesn't work for them in 2012 for the WH, there's going to be a lot of GOPers having hard-to-stomach political epiphanies in 2013. Mark my words and remember to laugh at them while they eat that crow only when they're not looking, because we don't want to get their backs up and discourage them from returning to a far more sane and moderate place than the sociopathic extremist playground they're currently inhabiting.

    August 24, 2011 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  12. Ed Texas

    Jeb is definitely the smart one in the family by far. It's refreshing to hear something smart coming from the GOP in the wake of all the crazy stuff coming from the likes of Hee Haw Perry, "Change Your Sexual Orientation" Bachmann, Flip Flopper Mitt and Nutty Newt.

    August 24, 2011 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  13. JOE

    My God, I think Jed Bush is endorsing Obama. Wow! You've got to be kidding! Or maybe he's jsut making a sensible observation. Well, thanks Jeb.

    August 24, 2011 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  14. The TRUTH

    Too Late!

    It's hard to change stripe on a Teabag elephant! Beside, what else can they campaign on? It can't be jobs! Hell, they are the ones that created this mess in the first place.

    August 24, 2011 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  15. AEJ

    That's typical of Sarah Palin. If you should throw back the question at her she would NOT know the first thing to answer.

    August 24, 2011 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  16. Jeffrey

    Couldn't help but notice he's saying Obama's policies failed. It was this guys brother who's policies wrecked our economy while doubling the national debt and starting 2 wars without any exit strategy. No mention of that eh Jebbie-beaner?

    I will give him partial credit for trying to steer the GOP away from Bachmann and Perry. If the tea party has their way and any of the extremists get nominated, Obama will have his 2nd term. I'm banking on the tea party selecting a complete nut-job.

    August 24, 2011 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    As far as I can tell, the only solutions the GOP candidates are familiar with have a proof of 80 or above.

    August 24, 2011 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  18. Matt

    His advice should be that you reach out to your friends and family to cheat the system so that you can win. "I done help my brother become president."

    August 24, 2011 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  19. QS

    Does it not strike anybody else as pathetic that Jeb Bush can make a statement like this and receive praise, PRAISE, for sounding rational and reasonable when comparing him to any of the GOP candidates?

    Shouldn't that tell us something about right wing politics in general? And knowing what Jeb stands for as a republican, even one that SOUNDS rational, still means he is too extreme.

    I refuse to praise this man for saying something that any adult should already know and understand. The fact that a Bush of all people is trying to rein in his party speaks volumes as to what that party is truly about. But as I said, even the seemingly rational republicans still have a far right ideology that I can't get onboard with...they have no ability to govern responsibly and they sure don't have the people in mind while pretending to govern.

    If you want to continue dragging this country out of the hole we're in, however slowly that may be, vote Obama.

    If you want bread lines, Hoovervilles springing up everywhere and a country that is third-world for about 90% of the population and heaven for the other 10%, vote for whichever corporate-puppet-in-a-suit republican gets the nomination!

    August 24, 2011 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  20. max

    Democrat Class Warfare...Blah, Blah, Blah
    I thought I told this guy to get an education based on his ignorant rantings but I actually see that he needs serious help with his command of the English language.

    August 24, 2011 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  21. Beantown Bully

    AIDS and conservatism you ask???? Conservatism noticed that the issue was "supposedly" affecting only a small part of the population, hence, no need to address the issue. It took Regan almost 6 years to say the word AIDS on TV, allowing the disease to go unchecked by the Fed.
    A progressive approach would have noticed the intrinsic harm a terminal STD would impose on the populous, and be compelled to act, just because it was the right thing to do. An initiative for prevetion, and treatment would have been rolled out, more focus on Condoms and knowledge would have been undergone. Conservatives...The reason for your grieving

    August 24, 2011 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  22. Mike from MN

    Remember that the GOP's solution to every-thing is as follows:

    1. Cut taxes
    2. Increase the Military and invade countries with rich resources
    3. Cut all gov't programs
    4. Wait for the "rich" to create COMPANIES to take care of all of us
    5. If all else fails, PRAY TO "JESUS"

    August 24, 2011 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  23. bill

    Jode wrote:

    Interesting... I just checked and Fox News is not covering this story. I wonder why.
    -----------------------------------

    Might want to READ the article before commenting.

    August 24, 2011 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  24. JOE

    2cents4free

    Very well stated!

    August 24, 2011 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  25. FRANK - LAS VEGAS

    The American people have known this for quite some time now. the party of NO has No ideas, No plans, No help to the economy and No help to the middle class. They only have one mission, to go against the President no matter what it does to the country. Well they will all find out that this was a very bad plan as the American people are much smarter than the GOP thinks they are. The President will win, the Democrats will increase their numbers in the Senate and they will take back the House, plain and simple.

    August 24, 2011 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
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