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. MTATL

    I have never been a supporter of JB but on this I have got to give him a lot of credit for common sense advise. He is saying do not follow the extremist mob mentality i.e. fiscal terrorist group the Tea Party. The Tea party extremist group has taken our political system which once was criticize, debate and vote and thrown it into the gutter. Serving in the military and seen firsthand what extremists can do to a country and from what I learned in school about countries that were taken over by an extremist group. I believe that the Tea Party has become a potential danger to our country's political process (stopped the legislative process in Congress) and the country (example – the near default on bill of the United States causing markets to fall).

    August 24, 2011 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  2. LMC

    I hate to say it, but well said! The Republicans need to actually come up with some ideas instead of just being against everything! Some ideas for new revenue (not CUTTING taxes) would be nice!

    August 24, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  3. Woman In California

    @ Tea Party Mike

    We don't agree politically but what you said is right on. Great advise.

    August 24, 2011 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  4. Woman In California

    Correction: I meant great advice.

    August 24, 2011 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  5. Angela

    Last ditch effort

    August 24, 2011 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  6. cecilia

    dang man – I thought he was going to say "steak the election" he can show you how it is done

    August 24, 2011 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  7. rtbrno65

    He's wrong about Reagan. Reagan was practicly declared to be elected before he even solidified the Republican nomination. The media totally pushed Reagan and Carter never stood a chance.

    August 24, 2011 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  8. TEA PARTY Mike

    I agree with Jeb Bush, you can not just be against the President. In fact, on the very rare occasions when Obama gets it right, Republicans should praise Obama. For instance Obama said on his bus tour that modifications need to be made to Medicare and Social Security. Republicans should openly agree with Obama on this. Democrats will not support Obama on this, they will scream and holler and get all bent out of shape if Obama wants to touch Medicare and Social Security. But Republicans agree with Obama on this point and should openly support him on this issue and work with him to enact significant modifications to Medicare and Social Security.
    And Republicans do need to put forth solutions. And they have done just that. Republicans have passed bills in the House that are killed by Senate Democrats and some Obama has said he would veto.
    Republicans passed a budget that solves our nations long term deficits and puts our nation on a sustainable size of government and spending. This was killed in the Senate and the Senate Democrats refuse to pass a budget of any kind, one that would put America on a sustainable path or not. In fact Democrats have not passed a budget for almost 3 years.
    Republicans passed the repeal of Obamacare and would pass a replacement bill if Obamacare was repealed. Repeal and replace of Obamacare would help create jobs. Just today the Chamber of Commerce once again stated that Obamacare was at the top of the list of recent legislation that is responsible for government over regulation that is getting in the way of the economy growing and creating more jobs.
    Republicans passed a balanced budget amendment, something that polls show is supported by a large majority of voters and would have a great chance of being ratified by the states. Again killed by Senate Democrats.
    When Obama releases his new jobs plan I expect House Republicans will take Obama's plan and modify and add to it and pass a bill and send it to the Senate, where it will be killed by Senate Democrats. See a pattern here?

    August 24, 2011 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  9. Four and The Door

    But the Administration has no idea what it is doing. The "massive government spending" strategy of Obama, Reid and Pelosi did nothing but get America's debt downgraded. No Jobs. No economic stimulus. Nothing.

    The Republicans have ideas and strategies that are proven over and over to work. They know more about managing government than Obama's, " Bigger must be better" idea. They know what makes the American economy work. It is efficiency and productivity. They will put Americans back to work.

    August 24, 2011 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  10. George

    Tea Party: The roadblock to the future.

    August 24, 2011 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  11. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    I would rather vote for a candidate with the last name Manson or Dahmer than a Republican named Bush.

    August 24, 2011 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  12. vet in texas

    The writing was on the wall on their playbook at the inaguration, when Cheney had "back issues from moving" (like he would actually lift a box) and was in a wheel chair so he couldn't stand up, then came the "you lie" outburst (wished he would have yelled that when we were told Iraq bought yellow cake from Niger), after that it was "I hope he failes" from the EIB network. All these things are phychological so that the masses who were ashamed to be a republican because of W's failures, would feel better about themselves for mentally looking down upon the office of the presidency.

    Several posters here have already stated the obvious, all of the current GOPers running have the same talking points, slogans, and campaiging platform except Huntsman and Paul, They still have the same underlying platforms because all the things Paul wants to do won't be able to get the votes from his party (think Obama Guantanamo, single payer, etc), so the usual GOP agenda will still go on. Think back 30 years ago and Reagan said the same things, but Reagan was a good script reader and could recite lines with emotion (acting) so you change the script to a speech, and Poof, you have a great communicator, Nobody in this current field can read lines like an actor, therefore nobody outside of their 40% of the country won't believe in the same policies that have been proven not to work over the past 30 years.

    August 24, 2011 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  13. Obama2012

    lol. The GOP candidates are so raw and clueless that they need coaching by Jeb Bush. Think the Republicans are just a little worried about their pool of representatives?

    August 24, 2011 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  14. Amazed2

    And let me guess Jeb... your outstanding President of a brother on Mt. Rushmore? Maybe give him credit for Libya, Killing Bin Laden, braking the economic free fall from disaster, outstanding Katrina response? Republican delusion is enormous.

    August 24, 2011 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  15. TEA PARTY Mike

    @ Woman in California

    Thank you for your comment.

    I do not mean to assume you agree, but I do think Obama handled the situation in Libya very well. Much better than Bush handled Iraq.

    With such a great divide between the visions of progressives and conservatives, when common ground is found both sides need to embrace it.

    August 24, 2011 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  16. Blackman in America

    Right..................I say do it and see where the TRIFLIN aholes end up. Maybe they do that only because 1. THEY DO NOT KNOW HOW TO DO THE JOB THEY WERE SENT TO DO. 2. repuks do not care about America only the money Americans can produce.

    August 24, 2011 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  17. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Jeb Bush is probably the most intelligent of George H. W.'s sons. Unfortunately, his big brother probably ruined his Presidential chances until at least 2020. Part of the problem is Jeb has been sidelined by the Tea Party types because like Senator's McCain, Hatch, Snowe and Murkowski he is willing to cross the aisle to seek a compromise solutions for problems as opposed to being ideologically pure and ineffective, as has been Bachmann and Santorum during their legislative careers. If he had decided to seek the nomination, you can be sure that he would be receiving almost as much scorn as Romney and Huntsman for not being a "pure" conservative.
    Even though I am a lifelong Democrat, I did support his father in his first election, but was discouraged with him by '92. I never supported his brother, but would be willing to support him depending on who was his running mate and who he is running against.

    August 24, 2011 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  18. The Real Tom Paine

    @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.

    You are the poster child for Jeb Bush's argument.

    @ TEA PARTY Mike:

    You blew your thoughtful post with your last one, laying blame on the Senate Dems for not approving what the House passed. If the situation were reversed, you would be applauding the Senate for their "courage". The key lies in working together, as you noted, but if the proposals are so far apart any talk of compromise becomes meaningless. What we have descended into is killing legislation or criticising out of pure spite. Neither party is blameless, as you have admitted earlier. There is also a pattern among the GOP for passing legislation they know has not got any chance of being signed into law, so can you address that practice? I also question the source of the polls you cite indicating a majority of support for a balanced budget amendment: most conservatives I know want the Consitution followed, not ammended, and most ammendments in my lifetime have come from the GOP, ranging from balanced budgets to stopping flag -burning and making sure marriage is between a man and a woman. Stop the side shows with ammendments. How would repealing and replacing Healthcare reform create jobs, since most of the provisions of the law have not even kicked in? Do I have to go back to paying full shot for my son's meds because he can be denied for a pre-existing condition? How soes my kicking in a few more K a year help create jobs? You provide no data, and no proof of this, yet you embrace it as an article of faith.

    August 24, 2011 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  19. John

    Of course it is enough! You are not talking about thinking intelligent people, you are talking about the Faux news, t bagger lunatics that have taken over the conservative party. It is enough to just say "Obama's Policies have failed" based on nothing so why expect these clowns to need actual reasons, common sense, ideas or the truth?

    August 24, 2011 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  20. The Clear Thinking Independent

    So my question at the next debate is:

    Do you endorse or reject tax cuts to boost employment of American workers. If so, why? What proof do you offer that this THEORY is correct?

    August 24, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  21. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    saying what he did on FoxNews, I am surprised that they didn't turn his mike off. If there is ONE thing FoxNews does and seems to encourage is tyo say negative things about President Obama no matter WHAT he does, including not giving him any credit for many things he has done correctly. For example not ONE of the 2012 candidates that I know of gave the president any credit for what is now occuring in Libya, BUT had it gone the other way then they would be in line to jump all over him, had the plan to get Osama bin Laden failed they would have attacked as well. Many at Fox chose to give Jeb's brother more credit than Obama. Just GOOGLE what the Republicans were once in favor of until Obama was in favor of it too. Just proves to me they are on a mission not to better our nation but to get power in the WH instead.

    August 24, 2011 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  22. Kimo

    The squeaky wheel gets the grease or in the case of the GOP candidates the most ridiculous get the most press. The most accomplished and probably smartest of the candidates in Jon Huntsman. He has a great resume (if you are a fiscal conservative) and is personable in interviews. On the down side, he's the privileged son of a billionaire and probably doesn't have a clue how the other 99% of us live. It's easy to talk about pulling yourself up by your boot straps when you have never had to do it yourself. Same with Romney. On the plus side, he quit high school to play in a rock band.

    August 24, 2011 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. Poser

    good point about ideas on jobs, getting out troops home , saving social security....

    The GOP already has ideas on jobs. You cuts for the "job creators". You should recognize them as the tax cuts that have been in place since 2001. Oh, wait! That didn't work. Time for a new idea. Bigger tax cuts for job creators. We'll call them "Across the board tax cuts" or a "Fair Tax".

    August 24, 2011 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  24. Four and The Door

    The Clear Thinking Independent
    Do you endorse or reject tax cuts to boost employment of American workers. If so, why? What proof do you offer that this THEORY is correct?
    Businesses have more money. That way they can pay new employees that they want to hire.
    Yes, it really is that simple. Don't let the Democrats make it too complicated. They like to confuse issues so they can raise taxes and have more of our money to spend.

    August 24, 2011 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  25. Jess C

    This creep would vote for his party no matter how wrong they are for this country. Enough said. That's exactly what's wrong with America right now. Focus on the issues, not your self-serving party, GOP! Congress, get to work and quit obstructing legislation that can help this country. Wish we could stop your paychecks. That idiot who recently held congress on his own to stop Obama appointments is a classic examply of how the GOP is leading us from democracy to idiocracy!

    August 24, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
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