Jeb Bush: 'You can't just be against the president'
August 24th, 2011
01:19 PM ET
9 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. Garnered

    Yeah Jed.

    August 24, 2011 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  2. Sam

    We need for a leader to run for president. Tea Party nut cases are not go to get elected to the presidency. My money would be on Jeb. If Jeb won't run then my vote goes to Obama. I not voting in some wacko from the ultra right wing of the Republican Party. That will have us in yet another war for oil.


    I know Obama is no

    August 24, 2011 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  3. Cory

    By far the most intelligent thing I've heard from any politician.

    August 24, 2011 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  4. matt

    Here's some advice for the Republicans for 2012.

    Don't be a Republican.

    August 24, 2011 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  5. T in Dallas

    "I'm neutral in the presidential race, but ..." Jeb you can't say that and then go on to admire or like every loony GOP candidate currently in the race. Jeb will never be President and he knows it. So why is he trying to be relevant now and who cares about his opinion? I'd like him to be honest about what a mess his brother made that not only the current administration but those in years to come.

    August 24, 2011 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  6. Christopher

    Here is some advice that Jeb should have given: "FOR GOD'S SAKE! DON'T DO WHAT MY IDIOT BROTHER DID!!!!!!"

    August 24, 2011 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  7. Tonyl

    Jeb, the smartest in the Bush clan has figured out that tea publicans cannot win with NO IDEAS and just with obstructionist rhetoric and blabber. So far all the candidates in GOP are clueless in coming up with any solutions to our nations problems. They are all good in griping like little children. Bush Cheney policies have put us in the mess we have been since the worst economic crash in this nations history. We were told in 2008 when the downfall of this economy occurred with the banking system by the Bush Cheney corrupt friends on the wall street before Obama took over that this will take decades to recover with the damage that Bush Cheney

    August 24, 2011 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  8. Mindie in Indie

    well said Liz the first – well said. Most Americans feel the same.

    August 24, 2011 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  9. Carl, Secaucus, NJ

    Think how radical it's become for a conservative even to say he thinks Obama means well, instead of saying Obama hates America and is trying to bring it down!

    August 24, 2011 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  10. Bill, NY

    The President's policies have not failed due to the fact that the republicans have obstructed his every move and then blame him for the consquences of their obstruction.

    August 24, 2011 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  11. Robrob

    "You can't just be against the president" – – Well, there goes half the field right there.

    August 24, 2011 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  12. Alex

    I actually already heard this story so I knew what the headline really meant, but CNN is pretty misleading. Most non-political junkies obviously thought you meant G.W. Bush, which would have made the article more interesting.

    August 24, 2011 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  13. charles smiles

    I'm a democrate and proud progressive. If there was a republican that would publically denounce the tea party while presenting the presidents failings and what you could have done better and can do you would have a lot more listeners. Lost of them independents and moderate democrats. These tea party people need to understand that a presidential election will bring out well over 30 million voters. Trying to fight for a mear 2 million to 4 million tea party members and sympothisers is such a losing strategy. They are not influential at all and considering their inability to govern they've lost a lot of support. Drop the tea party and call them out. They one a midterm election for crying out loud. Barely 25% of the folks that vote in presidential elections participate in mid terms. Mid terms bring out the extreme voters of both sides and folks that hunger for politics.

    August 25, 2011 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  14. roscoe

    And the Bushman hits the nail on the head....which he seems to do more often than his brother. The cast of GOP contenders are offering very little in terms of ideas. At least Rick Perry is praying for things.....that's a try. Michele and the rest of the parade figure they can just bad mouth Obama and that's good enough. It is good enough for the Tea Party but they won't win the election for them.

    August 25, 2011 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  15. RJ

    A simple honest staement like this proves to me that he is smarter than his brother ever was and that he may be someone worth puplic office like his father wass...God Bless GHWB and America however GWB in history will prove to be the start of the downfall of this country

    August 25, 2011 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  16. IsNot

    Do we NOT remember this was the brother in charge of Florida when his doofus brother couldn't get an honest vote, so there was a lot of subterfuge instead?

    August 25, 2011 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  17. hh

    I've been waiting a very long time for Republicans to say something (anything!) positive and constructive about the role of the federal government in the life of our great nation. I think most Republicans appeal only to the lowest impulses of our human nature -namely fear, prejudice, and greed. So sad! And to a party that claims to promote religious values that is even sadder. Jeb is right (on the subject anyway). In my opinion we need politicians who have a positive, hopeful, realistic vision for the role of our government in the future of not only our nation, but for all nations and for our planet. We need leaders who are going to appeal to those of us want to be responsible, knowledgable citizens and who vote for politicians who will rise above party loyalty and work for the good of all people.

    August 25, 2011 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  18. Geo

    Since the Republicans are dead set against government in Washington, how are they going to be a positive force for change? You have to elect people who believe in the government and country they are in charge of. They have become a completely negative, nihilistic force: block, stop, tear down, wreck. Nothing on improving the economy, setting up an atmosphere for engendering jobs. Nothing on building/rebuilding our infrastructure, dealing with health care, education, energy, etc. They are simply against. It is easier to take a hammer and wreck a structure than build a better one. The Republican party is a dead end.

    August 25, 2011 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  19. Please Use Your Brains

    As long as Jeb doesn't try to continue the Bush Quest for a Monarchy in America, he can discuss GOP candidates. And he is right. Hating Obama, doesn't qualify you to be president. You most possess some ideas of your own that can help the country, and the Republicans prove everyday they don't have any.

    August 25, 2011 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  20. logic in LA

    What would be more appropriate is to say "The president has lead against lying up cooperative Republicans that have distorted every idea put before them. But this is what we are running on- our mistakes as a party, our lack of understanding of economics 101"

    August 25, 2011 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  21. Ruby M. Fletcher

    I agree with Jeb Bush. Its obvious that the Republican party dislike the President, Why? Do we have to ask? He was disliked before he took office. The goal has been to keep him from making a second term. They hope that if said enough, people will believe it, SAD!! He will make a second term because the Republicans are helping him. By never agreeing with him make them look very pityful. Anybody can be right about something sometimes, Right? It makes me wonder if they dislike him because of his race. Its somthing to think about. He was disliked when he took the oath. What else could it be? I would like to know. It has noting to do about his policies. He was hated upon the day he took office. His wife was also, spoken negative of without reasoning. This tells me alots about our country. Sad!!!!!

    August 25, 2011 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  22. Not fooled

    They have been against this President since he won the election on November 4, 2008. But more so since he really took over the White House on January 20, 2009. In spite of that they can't handle that he has gotten a lot done.

    August 25, 2011 04:23 am at 4:23 am |
  23. oldfaithfull

    It might appear as if the GOP found a new spokesman! Nah, bring to forefront Cain...he's "black" and maybe he'll talk sense. You can't bring 'logic' into GOP discussions...let's build the 'franchise' like you build Pizzas...

    August 25, 2011 05:12 am at 5:12 am |
  24. Siesta Key

    He left the Florida education system in shambles. Like his brother, he is all hat and no cattle. Jeb Bush was a nightmare for the people of Florida and any suggestions by him should be ignored. Republicans will lose the house and finally the Demorats can get this country back on track.

    August 25, 2011 05:41 am at 5:41 am |
  25. don

    Jeb is right but this is the TP not the GOP that is in control so emption is al lthey need.

    August 25, 2011 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
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