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. Anonymous

    you just cant be against the president? if i feel the president or any other government official is making a mistake i WILL be against that decision. its called democracy. i refuse to go thru life saluting and saying heil! even if the majority do oppose the governments decisions we have no voice. the bush yrs proved that with out a doubt. our nation is in shambles. our laws are geared toward making the rich richer. tax the poor, no raise in min wage for 7 yrs. yet the senate vored themselves a raise everyone of those yrs. the average person can not survive in this economy. they bail our companies , lieswalstreet and banks. while people lose their homes .

    August 25, 2011 06:46 am at 6:46 am |

    Radical extremist teabaggers own his GOBP. He's 3 years late. 2012 correction coming fast.

    August 25, 2011 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  3. Communapitalist

    Mark my word – the Republican / Tea Party right-wing extremist radicals are going to run your country into the ground. Pretty soon, your nation will become the United States of Somalia instead of America.

    August 25, 2011 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  4. Reggie from LA

    Sure you can "just be against the president all the time", Mr Bush. What do you think the Tea Party foundations are, the Constitution and a real America? NO!! Their chief rabble rousers are paid by plutocrats to make fools (I mean followers) of the rest of them. They formed a coalition of the willing to bash and whine constantly. Interesting they surfaced in 2009, after the inauguration of President Obama. What a coincidence. A whole political movement, based on hate. You can deny if you want, but the people know.

    August 25, 2011 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  5. Stephen in VA

    Wow, a smart Republican. If they want to win us Independents back after the big middle finger they gave us this spring, many in his party need to listen to him.

    August 25, 2011 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  6. noteabags

    The most intelligent statement I've heard from a Bush in awhile.

    August 25, 2011 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  7. ardale

    notice how he gets in a "gentile" criticism of the president but does not add any new ideas either. Bush's comments are meant to show he is above the fray. The problem is that conservatives have put themselves in a box with one game plan – no new taxes – cut spending. So we wont hear anything but criticism of the president. Bush's comments are meant to show he is above the fray.

    August 25, 2011 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  8. bb

    The GOP has distilled itself to the party of crazies, bigots, and representatives of the richest 2%. And yet Jeb Bush talks plans, detailed agendas...sanity. None of this exists any longer in what USED TO BE the Grand Old Party. Their campaign calling cards: Evasion of the issues (unacceptable – given what is at stake in our country), insults, fear, hatred, threats, and coded arguments. ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE, GOP!

    August 25, 2011 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  9. moderatejoe_boston

    Looking for Jeb to endorse Huntsman any day now!

    August 25, 2011 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  10. jay a.

    Jeb is right. On the other hand, Obama's approval numbers are tanking so fast that even our quirkiest Repub. candidate, Ron Paul could probably win. Obama is sinking himself with his Socialist, anti-business policies that are keeping unemployment high and people are fed up with idiot ideas such as Stimulus plans that create 1 job for every $140,000.00 spent. Just a total waste of taxpayer's money. Good riddance.

    August 25, 2011 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  11. Timbo

    Holy Christ, a politician said something intelligent and useful. I never thought I'd see the day.

    August 25, 2011 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  12. Brian

    "I would humbly suggest to you that being a conservative is not necessarily a bad thing."

    I disagree. Conservatism has contributed nothing positive to America for decades, and I see nothing positive coming out of the current crop of candidates

    August 25, 2011 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  13. paul

    Enough of these Bushes! Enough of these Texas nitwits. Please some one send him out to pasture and spare the country.

    August 25, 2011 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  14. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Have we not received enough advice from the Bush family?

    August 25, 2011 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  15. Rudy NYC

    Jeb Bush is wrong. You can just be against the President. Look at all of the millions of dollars that have changed hands as a result of doing so. Palin has made a career out of it. The GOTP nominee will most definitely will just be against the President. It's unanimous already among those in the top tier of the polls.

    Jeb Bush is wrong. STanding for just being against Obama can make you rich.

    August 25, 2011 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  16. Me

    And here I thought it was George, you know, the guy who started this mess :/ Has he died??

    August 25, 2011 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  17. Canadian Jim

    Words of advice from the brother who was not kicked in the head by a mule. Fortunately the GOP contenders are too fanatical to listen, which will ensure Obama a second term and that is a good thing.

    August 25, 2011 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  18. Qev

    Unfortunately (for them) "Bashing Mr. Obama" is all they have to offer.

    August 25, 2011 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  19. Wervon Browne

    A couple things to consider about Jeb Bush. His mistress was the Florida SOS that committed election fraud in 2004. Interviewed on Fox"not really"News, and Obama doesn't have failled polocies, since he can't get any throught the House. The only failures in Washington is the Great Obstruction Party. "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president" Rep Mitch McConnell

    August 25, 2011 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  20. Gener

    I don't care about Bush speech this is politics, for me Barack Obama is one of the famous president of the united states.

    August 25, 2011 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  21. NClaw441

    I don't disagree with Jeb Bush on this, but I do find it interesting that Democrats agree with him. I sure don't recall a lot of that kind of talk when President Bush was in office. In fact, the denigration of President Bush continues to this day, and he isn't running for office. If President Obama is going to continue to attack President Bush, 3 years after he left office, it doesn't seem that crazy for Republicans to criticize Obama, who is still in office and seeking another 4 year debacle.

    August 25, 2011 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  22. robert

    Well said Jeb. It's nice to actually see a comment section filled with so much positivity for a change. I'm hoping the candidates read this and realize that they can't win an election using obamas strategy of "the old guy is horrible, I offer hope and change." We've heard that story already and we're gunshy of it, we want to hear specifics, tell us your ideas for change, or go waste someone elses time.

    August 25, 2011 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  23. badmoonrising

    Great Points. The only GOP candidate that has offered viable alternative solutions is Ron Paul.

    August 25, 2011 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  24. W

    Wow, Jeb Bush is the only republican making sense these days. How sad is that. But good for him, people have been saying this forever. Maybe the right will listen now since one of their own said it. However I highly doubt it because all the right can do is bash the President, they've got nothing else going on besides protecting the rich. Seriously, other than protect the rich and bash President Obama what have republicans done?

    August 25, 2011 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  25. Wise one

    Isn't just being against the former President how obama got elected? obama has done nothing...his centerpiece is obamacare and it is being proven to be illegal by the courts. What was obama's platform...oh yeah, I am not Bush. He convinced the lemings that he was worthy of the highest position in the world, and we have paid ever since.

    August 25, 2011 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
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