Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush today said that both Ronald Reagan and his father, George H.W. Bush, would have a hard time getting nominated by the more conservative voters in today's Republican Party.
"Ronald Reagan would have, based on his record of finding accommodation, finding some degree of common ground, as would my dad, they would have a hard time if you define the Republican party, and I don't, as having an orthodoxy that doesn't allow for disagreement, doesn't allow for finding some common ground," Bush said, according to Buzzfeed, which reported Bush's giving the comments at the headquarters of Bloomberg LP in New York City.
Bush, a much-discussed contender to be Mitt Romney's running mate, said he sees the ultra-conservative and partisan standards of today's GOP as "disturbing," but called "this dysfunction … temporary."
"It's just a different environment left and right," Bush said.
During his "dad's time and Ronald Reagan's time," Bush said, they "got a lot of stuff done with a lot of bipartisan support," according to the report, adding that Reagan "would be criticized for doing the things that he did."
Bush railed against both sides, but blamed President Obama for much of the clashing.
"His first year could have been a year of enormous accomplishment had he focused on things where there was more common ground," Bush said, arguing that he believed Obama made the "purely political calculation" to run a more partisan administration.
This is the latest in a series of comments Bush has made recently either criticizing his party or expressing policy points openly breaking with the presumptive GOP nominee. Last week in an interview with CBS News, Bush separated himself from Romney on the issue of illegal immigrants already in the United States.
"It's the one thing that separates us from the rest of the world, is to say embrace our values, learn our language and work hard and dream big and create what you want to create because it helps all of us," Bush told Charlie Rose. "You have to deal with this issue, you can't ignore it and so either a path to citizenship, which I would support and that does put me probably out of the mainstream of most conservatives or … a path to residency of some kind."
Bush said there needs to be a "realistic way of dealing with people that are here illegally," and although he "may have a different point of view on that [from Romney], I think I probably do," he "respect(s) his views."
He was also open in the same interview about the direction of the Republican Party, saying he worries that it's "shortsighted" when it comes to opening the party to Hispanics.
"In terms of the tone of the debate, it sends a signal, 'We want your support but you really can't join our team.' That's the short-term implications of this and demographically Latino voters, Hispanic voters are going to be important in this election but going forward even more so politically I think it's short sighted. I think there needs to be a lot more intense efforts to recognize the demographics of the country are changing and our messaging not our views, not our principals, but how we message our views need to change as well."
"This will prove I'm not running for anything," Bush said at the hearing. "If you could bring to me a majority of people to say that we are going to have ten dollars of spending cuts for one dollar of revenue enhancement, put me in coach."
On CBS, Bush also said "under no circumstances" would he be Romney's running mate, but did leave the door open to a future White House run himself.
"I've not made that decision," Bush said. "Although I think there is a window of opportunity in life for all sorts of reasons and this was probably my time. Although I don't know, given kind of what I believe and how I believe it I'm not sure I would have been successful as a candidate either. These are different times than just six years ago when I last ran."
His son George P. Bush this weekend contradicted his father's statements that he does not want to run with Mitt Romney, telling the Washington Post, "If called upon to serve, he will,"
Bush's son, 36, has not ruled out politics himself and his political action committee, MaverickPAC, released a Web video today called "Are You a Next Generation Republican?" trying to lure more young Republicans angry about the economy into the fold.
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