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. George

    Jeb Bush: "You can't just be against the president, you need a swing state governor to help rig the election and a SCOTUS to rule in your favor."

    August 24, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  2. TEA PARTY Mike

    I agree with Jeb Bush that some Republicans do sometimes overdo their criticism of Obama.
    Not long back I was watching as Obama gave a speech and in it said that more deficit reduction was needed and included in his list of things that should be done was tax reform to increase revenue, more spending cuts and modifications to Medicare and Social Security. I started clapping and cheering, my daughter could not believe it because I almost never like what Obama has to say. What was a big turn off to me was a Republican that was interviewed right after and started jumping all over Obama for what he said in his speech. That did indeed turn me off. When Obama gets it right Republicans should say so. Obama will be releasing a his new plan for additonal defict reduction soon. There is a good chance that there will be much in it Republicans will not like, but based on what Obama has been saying, there may be a lot that Republcians do like and if that turns out to be true, Republicans need to make sure they praise Obama for what they like in it, not just attack what they do not like.

    August 24, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  3. kakaraka

    Really? The Republican candidate will win with such a bad brand name full of wacoos and crazy candidates? Hell no. Obama2012

    August 24, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  4. Republicans make me laugh

    Que the Tea Partier's posts about not letting the door hit Bush's backside on the way out. Too much common sense and not enough vitriol to satisfy the "Real Americans".

    August 24, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  5. ted

    Jeb is correct – the GOP candidates all yell and scream that Obama is doing everything wrong BUT they never offer any solutions to the issues. Never. Wonder why? Because they are so shallow they have no idea what the issues are, have no experience to speak of in dealing with issues and only want to bluster and blather. They are all lunatics.

    I am getting sick all ready that these idiots from TEXAS think they know more than everyone else.

    August 24, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  6. TXJim

    Now that's shock and awe for some.. not for me..

    There is a reason why Jeb is staying out of the race.. he knows that its going to be impossible for these GOP extremists to beat President Obama.. Jeb is a moderate, so is Huntsman ( the guy who he said he wants to hear from)... he knows moderates wont be heard this year by the GOP faithful..

    Where the other also-ran's (Mitt), has-been's (Gingrich), and never will be's because they are too crazy (Bachmann, Perry, Palin) are messing up is what he highlighted.. They have no plan, just GOP talking points, and support the opposite of what President Obama does.

    Jeb is right about that.. btw the whole Bush family is more moderate than people think... GWB would have endorsed Obama back in 2008, if asked... I am curious to see if he still feels the same way...

    August 24, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  7. Andrew

    I like Jeb even though I am a democrat. He was governor of Florida and did a bang up job. Seems to be a real savy politician and leader. Too bad he is not running for pres but I think who ever gets elected will have their hands full 2012-2016..LOL

    August 24, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  8. Larry L

    Too bad the "good" President Bush couldn't have offered America this son rather than the other one. Jeb is yet another right-wing radical but he appears to have some true convictions and at least a little common sense. "W" didn't have enough sense to pour piss from a boot and remains the cause of many of Americas deepest problems. I still find it infuriating that the Republicans worked so hard to disrupt or block every initiative to put America back on it's feet, yet blame the President for not immediately fixing the mess they created. The Republicans in the Senate filibustered everything to prevent debate – even the legislation they created! That's political terrorism.

    August 24, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  9. ConservaFASCISTS/TEAliban/TEAhadists

    The supposed "smart" Bush has intentions on being President but I think he's well aware that the country is not ready for another Bush. He may have to wait another 20 years.

    August 24, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  10. Jack in Florida

    I can't believe I am in agreement with Jeb Bush!!!! The Republicans NEVER have any solutions.....all they do is berate our President and what he is trying to accomplish.....They never offer alternatives as they have become the party of NO. Their goal is to make the President look bad, even at the expense of the country, so that they can hopefully get elected in 2012. It ain't going to happen, as we remember the hell we lived through with Bush/Cheney............NEVER AGAIN, NEVER AGAIN, NEVER AGAIN!!!

    August 24, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  11. Proud member of "Global Zero"

    After the previous administration and the current congress...I will never vote for another Republican. The only thing they are for is tax cuts. You can have mine back!!! I want Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid left alone.

    August 24, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  12. once upon a horse

    pretty gusty of Jeb Bush to go on FoxNews and say that he feels some of the 2012ers overdo their criticisim of Obama, when that is ALL FoxNews does as well. They pay folks like Sarah Palin to do nothing but say negative things about the president no matter what he does. Soon if overdone it will fall on death ears. Just like the right claims blaming Bush is overdone, being critical of the president WITHOUT offering possible solutions of your own is wearing thin with many as well.

    August 24, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  13. steven harnack

    I'm filled with horror at the thought of Republicans picking up where they left off in '08.

    August 24, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  14. A Kickin` Donkey


    You`re` a day late and a dollar short`.

    Your party vowed,in Feb `09 [less than 30 dyas into his Presidency], to resist EVERYTHING Mr. Obama put forth in a clearly articulated effort to make him fail. I can find You-Tube video of DeMint, McConnel, Bachmann, and OTHERS making/ taking such pledges.

    If you really wanted to serve America`s best interests, you`d have reeled these folks in then – afterall, you are part of the Bush political dynasty.

    The GOP trots you out now for image management – you guys figure Mr. Obama has been obstructed long enough so that he can`t pull a miracle turnaround out of his hat.

    Your side thought you could apply the age-old trick of backstabbing the woman or black executive, and then claim that, "I like him/her, but they just are not up to the job" – – that they are ineffectual in their duties. THAT`S RIGHT, I said it ! We all [White, Latino, Asian, Black, Male, Female] know this ploy.

    August 24, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  15. Debbie

    Thank you Jeb Bush. For once, a reasonable, mature republican speaking.

    August 24, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  16. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    But Jeb, there is just SO MUCH OBAMA FAILURE to be against!! Would it be OK if the candidates just say they will not turn the USA into another failed and bankrupt European country like Obama is doing? Would it be OK to say your not a "share the wealth" socialist like Obama?? The solutions are very clear but the socialist entitlement culture the Democrats have planted and grew in this country are very difficult to reverse. People think that by merely existing inthis country they are entitled to everything complements of the government and the very few people actually paying taxes anymore.

    August 24, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  17. FM

    First impression always matters. And if a person lacks the courage to have a good start, he is already been finished. Unfortunately all contenders have nothing concrete to sell to people , thats why the field is still open.

    August 24, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  18. Mike from MN

    Who you fooling Jeb?

    You know you hope the GOP loses in 2012 because in 2016, you will be running!

    Yeah, 8 years should be enough for folks to forget about Bush 2.

    August 24, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  19. sonny chapman

    Brother W.'s policies worked so well. Turned a Budget Surplus into a Deficit, was asleep at The Ranch a month before 9-11 Attacks, Invaded the wrong country, had a Second Tax Cut DURING Two Wars, used the Patriotic Card against anybody who opposed him, ran a Divide & Conquer Political Campaign. W., a GREAT PREZ.

    August 24, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  20. DC Insider

    I like Jeb Bush and it's too bad he'll probably never be able to run for President after his brother's Presidency. People are not ready for a Bush Part III. But his message runs true to both sides of the Aisle. You can't base your entire campaign mantra or operating principles, blaming the last guy. Democrats who are still blaming Bush for his past mistakes need to get over it. This is no longer the time to lay blame on people and just start working on getting our Country back on track, whether you are a Liberal, Moderate, or Conservative.

    August 24, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  21. Squigman

    If justice were fact not myth, the entire Bush family, would be jailed or deported. No family in the history of our nation is more responsible for the dire economic conditions of more families than the Bush clan. Since 2001, more people are living in the streets, the number of children going to bed hungry has increased, and the moral of the nation is at an all time low. This can all be traced back to our first, and hopefully only mentally challenged, appointed president. REMEMBER.

    August 24, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  22. Rob

    Mr. Bush you are on the money.

    August 24, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  23. abby1

    It's good to know there is a conservative Republican with common sense and civility. I am tired of these other conservative Christian Republicans stirring up hatred. The only message I keep hearing is they do not like the President. People outside your hate circle do not want to hear this. We want to know why we should elect you as President and what you can do to help the entire country....not just a select few people.

    August 24, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  24. GOP = Greed Over People

    Easy, Bubba, you are starting to sound sane, and this is not a good year for sanity among the GOP tea baggers

    August 24, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  25. nagrom

    And we need to be a broad party with divergent points-of-view. Just another good ol boy. Trouble is there are no divergent points of view. They all think, act, and frightfully are starting to look like each other.

    August 24, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
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