March 10th, 2013
09:00 AM ET
10 years ago

Jeb Bush looks favorably on GOP's direction

(CNN) - As major voices within the Republican Party evaluate the GOP's next steps forward, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush sees promise.

"I'm excited that I think we're seeing the renewal of the conservative movement in the Republican Party and I want to be part of that, for sure," he said in an interview Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

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What that means for Bush - the son and brother of former presidents, and thought by some to be a potential 2016 candidate - and his own political future, however, is less clear.

He has stepped forward as a voice on immigration, releasing a book, "Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution," that has landed him once again in the political spotlight. Since stepping down as governor in 2007, he also has worked on the issue of education, another issue which he sees as important to his party's future.

"Whether it's the empathy gap or actually having a positive agenda, I would argue an opportunity-society ... agenda is what we need, something that's more aspirational - a real focus on transformation of our education system, a tax code that doesn't penalize aspiring small business owners, a regulatory system" that doesn't choke small businesses, he said.

He looked at a recent split within the GOP as something "natural" in politics.

Sen. John McCain spoke out strongly against Sen. Rand Paul's filibuster, calling him a "wacko bird." Paul was filibustering to get an answer from the Obama administration on their drone policy and said that while he respected McCain, the respect wasn't always returned.

Bush said, "I would say it is a natural process of where there's divergence, people can express their views openly, but that on the broad issues, there's still broad support and concurrence. The fact that Senator McCain was critical of elements of what Senator Paul said is fair.

"But on the other hand, I think he would respect the fact that Senator Paul got a response from the administration on the key question of whether or not drones could be used against American citizens on American soil," he continued. "And I think it's OK to have a disagreement. We don't march lockstep, 100% in agreement all the time."

Bush also played diplomat - or referee - when considering President Barack Obama's recent meetings with key Republicans to discuss the federal budget and deficit.

"I don't know what he's doing, but I would encourage him to do more of it," Bush said of the meetings when asked about the president's strategy. "Big issues require everybody to get outside their comfort zone. And people are more willing to do so if they believe that their partner is - is sincere in their efforts."

He said the recent and upcoming sessions with Republicans in both the House and Senate "could have the chance of restoring a degree of civility. That's the first step to problem-solving and solutions in our nation's capital. … I think it's important and I applaud the president for doing it."

Are Bush's diplomatic answers a sign he has his sights set on the White House in 2016?

He gave the noncommittal answer many do at this early stage, saying "I don't know if I'm going to run for elected office again or not."

"I've decided to defer any consideration of it until the proper time to make those kinds of considerations, which is out more than a year from now, for sure," he said. "And when I go through that process, I'll let you know. I don't know why there has to be a lot of mystery about this. This is kind of how it normally works, I believe."

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

Filed under: Jeb Bush • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Ancient Texan

    The conservative element of the GOP has got to get active. Millions stayed at home on November 6th rather than support the "moderate" candidate, Romney.

    March 10, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  2. plain&simple

    Is the "conservative" wing of the republican party the tea party? Not by Jeb's description!!! Compliment the president and see what that gets you. If by conservative he means sane and rational he justlost Rand and Cruz and aabout 30 others who have been using the republican party as their own power builder!! When you promote ideals that bring people into the mainstream,you will get your party many republicans have sold their souls to win easy primary battles and now are paying a heavy price!!!

    March 10, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  3. zanny

    Not another Bush please did we learn nothing from the last one We are still paying dearly for those years. Maybe Dick Cheney could be hisVice President and we could get in 2 more wars and have two more tax cuts so we can really go over the edge. As a senior citizen on Social Security(or as Ryan and Romney call me-a taker)a Republican in the White House scares me to death.

    March 10, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  4. Randy, San Francisco

    Bush is pushing the same old tired Republican/Tea Party agenda. He flip flopped on immigration by taking a step back on path to citizenship. The new aspirational message is a mirage, just snake oil in a new bottle.

    March 10, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  5. Bill2000

    George W Bush called himself a passionate conservative, yet he screwed over the US by starting two unfunded wars, and gave tax breaks to the very wealthy. Think Jeb will do any better, same friends.

    March 10, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  6. Republicans; the "Not Intended to be Factually Accurate" Party

    I`m a scientist; I look at the data.

    1st President Bush = ONE WAR
    2nd President Bush = TWO WARS
    A 3rd President Bush = . . . Do The Math.

    Bushes are beholden to the military Industrial Complex. Elect another one, no matter how balanced he may seem and America will be at war again in Iran, North Korea, Syria, somewhere. The Presidency is not a Bush birthright.

    March 10, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  7. Name Catmandew

    Now y'all must not have read the story very well! He said he was not running for president at this time. As for flip flopping Obama does it all the time also so what is the big deal? Ya have to remember these are politicians they don't have to stick to their beliefs and values like normal folks do!

    March 10, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  8. Peace

    Jeb Bush better not waste his time. No one from Bush clan will ever sit in the White House again. Two different wars which were carried by his father and another with his brother, put a very big stain on the name. People died and a lot of treasure were wasted during the wars. No one can forget neither forgive them, thus allowing another Bush start another new war. No way.

    March 10, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  9. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    And he also looked favorably upon his idiot brother's corrupt, incompetent administration!

    March 10, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  10. jeb 2000

    Jeb is running for president.
    Michael Jordan is coming back to the NBA.
    The Beatles are reuniting.
    Ed Sullivan is having a new TV variety show.
    Abe Lincoln is the new CNN Theater Critic.

    Come On JEB...Retire with whatever dignity you still think you have...

    March 10, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  11. Testing, testing!

    Jeb Bush is out early to gather what people say about his running. How can any serious person throw himself to the hands of lions, while knowing he will be eaten even before diner time? Please go away, folks are aware of your intentions.

    March 10, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  12. apetra

    What's wrong with one more strong voice? He's making good points, shredding the straw man that the only immigration alternatives are "path to citizenship" or "mass deportation".

    Do I think he's running for President? I don't care. Would he enliven and uplift the debate? Sure. Are there better candidates? Absolutely. Will they run? I hope so.

    March 10, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  13. Thomas

    The House of Windsor is the royal house of the United States. It was founded by King George H Bush , King GW Bush .

    March 10, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  14. Gurgyl

    CNN please do us favor–stop this Bushes...

    March 10, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  15. g

    two bushs= 4 trillion dollar debt 3rd bush not going to happen

    March 10, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  16. tammyk tammy

    GOP politicking chant: Jeb, Jeb, he's our man! If Dubya couldn't destroy Amurica, then Jeb Jeb can!

    March 10, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  17. John the Historian

    The Bushes are jjust flip floppers. The family came here in the 1630s and were Puritans, then thye converted to Anglican. Bush II married Laura who is Methodist but was born again by Graham a Baptist, and Jeb married a Hispanic and became a Catholic. The Bushes have spoken at Bob Jones University a very anti-Catholic University. They are all over the map on religion. One correction Bush I had two wars Panama and the First Gulf War, Bush II had two wars Afghanistan and Iraq II and was planning war with Iran but had the big election defeat of 2006 and was caught about lying about weapons of mass destruction. Jeb would just want a war with Iran, a country of 80 million. Imagine the outcome of that war. We are still paying off the one trillion dollar debt from the Second Gulf War. The Bush family are just puppets of the oil industry and the military-industrial complex. I wonder if Jeb would bring in one of the Cheney daughters so Halliburton could make war profits again.

    March 10, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  18. t

    ...................No Way.......................NO HOW.........................NO TIME...........will another Bush be POTUS, due to W.

    March 10, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |