Jeb Bush: Reagan wouldn't fit in today's GOP
June 11th, 2012
10:34 AM ET
2 years ago

Jeb Bush: Reagan wouldn't fit in today's GOP

(CNN) – One of the GOP's leading voices said Monday that former President Ronald Reagan, considered an idol among Republican politicians, would struggle to mesh with today's hyper-partisan attitude among some elected officials.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, speaking to editors at Bloomberg, also said his father, former President George H.W. Bush, would have trouble fitting in with today's Republican Party.

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"Ronald Reagan would have, based on his record of finding accommodation, finding some degree of common ground, as would my dad – they would have a hard time if you define the Republican party – and I don't – as having an orthodoxy that doesn't allow for disagreement, doesn't allow for finding some common ground," Bush said, according to the website Buzzfeed.

The remarks were nearly immediately highlighted by President Barack Obama's re-election team, which emailed the comments to a press distribution list. Obama's team has itself struggled in recent weeks with off-message comments from campaign surrogates, including former President Bill Clinton and Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Cory Booker.

Jeb Bush said an attitude of bipartisanship existed during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations.

"Back to my dad's time and Ronald Reagan's time – they got a lot of stuff done with a lot of bipartisan support," Bush said, according to Buzzfeed.

Today's White House and Congress don't reflect the same attitude, Bush said, placing much of the blame on Obama.

"His first year could have been a year of enormous accomplishment had he focused on things where there was more common ground," Bush said.

Last week Bush made headlines when he broke with many in his party on taxes, saying he favored slight tax increases in return for large cuts in spending.

When pressed in the hearing, Bush said he also disagreed with popular pledges authored by Washington anti-tax heavyweight Grover Norquist and his group, Americans for Tax Reform.

"I ran for office three times. The pledge was presented to me three times. I never signed the pledge. I cut taxes every year I was governor," Bush said.

Also see:

Axelrod weighs in on Obama's private sector comments

Romney video goes after Obama's comments on economy

Daniels, Walker want Romney to go bold


McCain: Obama responsible for leaks, Holder has no credibility


Filed under: George H.W. Bush • Jeb Bush • Ronald Reagan
soundoff (333 Responses)
  1. Unknown

    Of course, if Reagan were alive today, he would be considered a RINO amongst the insanity of the GOP!

    June 11, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  2. Publius Novus

    I don't like Jeb Bush. Nevertheless, this is a very couragous statement, aside from its absolute truth. Jeb may just have taken himself out of the running for the GOP bid in 2016. On the other hand, maybe his plan is to switch parties.

    June 11, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  3. GI Joe

    Put a Bush on the republican ticket. he he hehe he he

    Talk about rallying the base - for the democrats.. ha ha ha ha ha

    June 11, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  4. garc

    Wait a minute...Are you sure he said this? It sounds far too truthful and brave to have come out of a republican's mouth.

    June 11, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Things that make you say, "Hmm." Jeb Bush sounds the voice of moderation two weeks in a row. Hmm. How much you want to bet that Jeb Bush is part of a long range plan help Mitt Romney distance himself from the fringe?

    Here's how it is going to work. Bush is respected Republicans, and not known for extremism. He keeps being the voice of moderation, sounding like the adult in the room, and is very careful not to criticize Romney or any one in particular. Eventually, Bush and Romeny will meet face to face for a sit down summit. Bush will come out endorsing Romney and announce that he and Romney see eye to eye, or whatever metaphor you wish to apply.

    The point is that the Bush endorsement will come a critical time to paint Romney as a moderate, and get him away from all of these endorsements from the brash and furious.

    June 11, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  6. SokrMom

    These comments make Jeb sound surprisingly like a moderate. It sometimes seems like that is really rare in today's Republican party. On the other hand, Romney seems to be Obama with lighter skin, so the Republican rank and file may be more moderate than louder voices would lead one to believe.

    June 11, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  7. Mark

    Jeb is right Today's republican Tea Party would accuse Reagan of being too liberal and condemn him for working with anyone other than their own. It is very scary to think these lunatics have influence over governing decisions.
    The worst thing reagan ever said was that Republicans should never critise another Republican. If he knew then what is known now he never would have said it.

    June 11, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  8. southernwonder

    it serves america best when our politicians are honest like mr. jeff bush is. the hot air we are blown on by nutty ones only wastes our precious time and energy, creates chaos and we are all losers as a result at a time we need to be highly productive in a fearcely competitive world. if we don't shape up soon china could have us for breakfast.
    so, thank you, mr. jeff bush.

    June 11, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  9. N.C.

    Blame only Pres. Obama for lack of bipartisanship? Last time I looked bi- means two or both. It takes both Parties to be bipartisan, not just one.

    June 11, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  10. Doc_Hollywood

    The only thing he got wrong was the part where he blamed Obama for not working on issues that had "more common ground". I thought infrastructure was always common ground. Didja see anyone on the republican side trying to be bipartisian? When the minority leader of the Senate declared on inaugeration day that his main job is to limit Obama to one term, when the republicans had a dinner deciding on a strategy of "just say no", then where was Obama to find this "common ground"? Oh, I know....he meant Obama should have moved over to the republican way of thinking. That's their "common ground".

    June 11, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  11. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    I said it before and I'll say it again...Geb Bush is going to be Mitt Romney's runnimh mate! For two years Jeb has portrayed himself as a moderate and at times he has even stepped out of bounds to criticize the republican presidential candidates, saying such things as, you just can't criticize the President and not say what you would do differently on the other hand. And I remember him saying something to the effect that criticism of the President is not a solution or alternative to fixing the problems! Then a few months ago, he was telling Mitt to "stay above the freay" and refrain from personal attacks. Now this! And yes, Jeb Bush is actually demonstrating that he at least has some integrity, character and commonsense ! That was the kind of image Sen. Richard Lugar exemplified in congress for three decades, reaching across the isle to get things done! But unfortunately a Romney/Bush ticket won't do America much good simply because their agenda would be more of the same trickle down economics and tax breaks for the rich and more threats of foreign invasions! I honestly think you're likeable Jeb but I'd rather you stay in Texas.

    June 11, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  12. gonzo

    "Today's White House and Congress don't reflect the same attitude, Bush said, placing much of the blame on Obama."

    If only Obama had immediately proposed cutting taxes for our betters, provided even more corporate welfare, and offered to privatize Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid maybe they could have gotten some stuff, y'know, done.

    June 11, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  13. Goose66

    Wow! Now I wish he was running for President over Romney. Of course, just about anybody would be better than Romney.

    June 11, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  14. Thomas

    Sad , but true.

    Jeb was the smart one , who should have been in the white house , not his brother.

    I love how the teabag people aways bring up Reagan . He don't now what he would say .

    June 11, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  15. Cheryl Jefferies

    This is news? So what. I'm sure the first President Bush is horrified at Obama's refusal to work with anyone else...it's either his way or the highway. No talk. No compromise. I'm sure Reagan would be horrified, too, at that. Both knew how to work with others. Neither were megalomaniacs. And, neither were Marxists. Only Obama fits those two descriptions. And, now, CNN: where is something letting folks know there's a House vote up-coming on citing Holder for Contempt of Congress? Isn't THAT news?

    June 11, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  16. NorCalMojo

    He didn't fit in with the GOP when he was president. The establishment GOP did all they could to derail Reagan.

    June 11, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  17. georgewashington

    Nothing new hear. Bush simply stated what everyone already knew. If this statement takes him out of the running in 2016, the guy has enormous problems which he won't be able to overcome. Besides isn't Romney supposed to win and will be running again in 2016?

    June 11, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  18. TomGI

    "One of the GOP's leading voices". Jeb Bush? You have got to be kidding. Jeb isn't even one of the GOP's trailing voices.

    June 11, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    SokrMom wrote:

    These comments make Jeb sound surprisingly like a moderate. It sometimes seems like that is really rare in today's Republican party. On the other hand, Romney seems to be Obama with lighter skin, so the Republican rank and file may be more moderate than louder voices would lead one to believe.
    -------------–
    See what I mean. It's working. The plan is to unshackle Romney from all of the extremists camping out in his closets, and paint him as a moderate.

    June 11, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  20. Ben

    Reagan ran for President proposing a top income tax bracket of 50%. Obama ran proposing a top income tax bracket of 37.5%. The current GOP calls Obama a socialist.

    So yeah... The current GOP would consider Reagan akin to Karl Marx himself.

    June 11, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  21. mack

    I agree with Jeb, Reagan would not fit in with todays GOP. If he were running for office today, all the canidates calling themselfs the Reagan canidate would not support him.

    June 11, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  22. jenkoosh

    Today's Republicans:
    No birth control for women
    No abortions
    and NO taxes for the rich & for corporations. Make the middle class shoulder the costs.

    June 11, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  23. J

    "Today's White House and Congress don't reflect the same attitude, Bush said, placing much of the blame on Obama."

    Hey Jeb, are you familiar with Mitch McConnell, Reince Priebus, and John Boehner, to name a few, otherwise known as "The Party of NO!"? You almost had me believing you were a decent Republican until you pointed the finger at Obama.

    June 11, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  24. scottf

    He is absolutely right. The right wing GOP just proves how hipocritical they really are. Judge the right wing by what they do not what they say. Ronald Reagan would be a conservative Democrat in today's extremist politics.

    June 11, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  25. keeth

    Thanks in large part of Jeb's brother, Dubya.

    June 11, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
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